Soft-on-crime Philly DA fights back against removal efforts

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

It’s no secret that the violent crime rate in Philadelphia is completely out of control. The ironically nicknamed City of Brotherly Love is hardly alone in experiencing this plague, but the numbers are grim. By last month, more than 1,400 people had been shot with more than three hundred of them dying. This surge has brought even more scrutiny to the city’s soft-on-crime District Attorney, Larry Krasner. His refusal to lock up criminals, including those charged with gun crimes, has led a committee in the state legislature to open an investigation into his job performance with an eye toward potentially impeaching him. The Pennsylvania House recently voted in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner to hold Krasner in contempt for failing to answer a subpoena to testify before the committee. But now, in a “correcting the record” memo, Krasner has fired back, claiming that this is all a political ploy, despite members of his own party joining in the call to remove him. (Fox News)

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Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is fighting back against state legislators who voted last week to hold him in contempt, accusing them of a politically motivated attempt to remove him from office while demanding that he turn over protected documents.

The Pennsylvania House overwhelmingly voted against Krasner in a bipartisan fashion for not complying with a subpoena issued as part of a House committee investigation. That probe has gone on as state Republicans are looking to impeach Krasner as they blame his policies for the city’s rise in gun violence.

On Monday, Krasner accused his political opponents of being disingenuous and using the current state of affairs — which he acknowledged is bad — for political purposes.

Calling the investigation “the worst sort of cheap politics,” Krasner pointed out that the current spike in homicides is actually one percent lower than the increase seen when Arlen Specter was the DA. (59% versus 60.5%.) He also pointed out that Specter was a Republican.

All of that may be technically true, but Specter was the DA in the late 60s and early 70s, a period when unrest filled the streets and crime was up all across the country. Matching that performance is hardly anything to brag about. Also, Arlen Specter was a Democrat before switching parties to run for the DA’s office because his own party wouldn’t support his candidacy. He later switched back to being a Democrat, so Specter was, at best, a Republican of convenience, much like Michael Bloomberg.

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Krasner also tried to deflect the blame by pointing out that some counties in Pennsylvania had seen even large spikes in homicides. He specifically mentioned Beaver and Washington counties. But those are sparsely populated, rural counties with populations that are less than ten percent the size of Philadelphia’s. As we’ve discussed here before, it doesn’t take very many additional killings to drive up the homicide percentages out in the sticks. And, again, simply saying that someplace else has a lot of murders also isn’t any sort of defense of your own performance.

The reality is that Krasner, along with the oh-so-accurately named Philadelphia Police Chief Outlaw, came into their offices with a promise of emptying the jails and combatting Philadelphia’s “incarceration problem.” They have shown little to no interest in locking up the people who have actually been committing crimes. The criminals took notice of this and obviously realized that the doors to the candy store had been left unlocked. Crime of all types rose in response, with shootings and murders being the most notable.

Now the chickens may be coming home to roost. Other soft-on-crime DAa around the country have either been removed from office or come dangerously close to it. This week, the state government in Pennsylvania has denounced Krasner in a bipartisan fashion and he can probably hear the footsteps in the hallway closing in on him.

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John Stossel 5:30 PM | July 13, 2024
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