NEW BEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) – A local community is mourning the loss of a man killed in a fatal altercation outside a Philadelphia bar.
Disturbing video of the incident shows Eric Pope, 41, from New Bedford, dancing in the street outside a bar two weeks ago before being hit in the head by a bouncer. Pope, then bangs his head on the ground and loses consciousness.
He was rushed to hospital and put on life support, but succumbed to his injuries on Saturday.
“If you’ve ever met a human being who showed nothing but love, it’s Eric,” said Kathy Dehner, a friend of the family. “His heart is in this city. I know that.”
Dehner said Pope began his career as the youngest member of the New Bedford school board before working for the Obama administration and later for the Federal Reserve.
However, many say it is clear that the mark he left on his hometown is indelible.
“He was always looking to improve the community; anything he could do to help,” Dehner said.
Josh Amaral also served on the school committee, following in Pope’s footsteps.
“I hope he will be remembered at New Bedford as a champion for young people,” he said. “We have had other elected officials over the years running for office at younger ages than you would expect. And I think a lot of that is thanks to Eric.
Those who knew him said they were devastated by his death, as was the Philadelphia District Attorney.
He said Pope was escorted out of the bar because he was drunk, but that didn’t justify what was to follow.
“It could be anyone’s son. I mean he- yeah, was drunk. He looked like he was having a good time. He wasn’t violent or anything. He was just dancing in the street,” DA Larry Krasner said.
The bouncer who hit Pope is now charged with third degree murder.
“Everyone Eric has touched is going to feel emptiness,” said family friend Kathy Dehner. “He meant a lot to all of us.”
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