In a blistering statement Thursday, United States Attorney William M. McSwain lashed out at the district attorney of Philadelphia, saying his “vile rhetoric” and lax law enforcement policies were putting police in danger.
Larry Krasner, the Philly D.A., is a far-left former civil rights defense attorney who has sued police more than 75 times, and has defended far-left Occupy Philly activists and Black Lives Matter agitators. Left-wing hedge fund billionaire George Soros helped put Krasner in office by donating an overwhelming $1.45 million to an independent political action committee backing his campaign in 2017.
After a violent suspect with an extensive criminal history shot and injured six police officers Wednesday, McSwain said he was “fed up” with the culture of disrespect” Krasner has promoted.
Incredibly, according to a local CBS Philly reporter, while police were still dodging bullets on Wednesday, hundreds of residents were laughing and yelling at them from the sidelines. At least once, police had to pepper-spray unruly onlookers.
I mentioned this at 10 and since I was harassed during that live shot, I’ll mention it here too. A major moment of disappointment this evening was watching a crowd of people taunt police officers, laughing and yelling at them in the midst of the gunfire. #PhiladelphiaShooting
— Alexandria Hoff (@AlexandriaHoff) August 15, 2019
“There is a new culture of disrespect for law enforcement in this City that is promoted and championed by District Attorney Larry Krasner—and I am fed up with it,” McSwain wrote in the strongly worded statement.
It started with chants at the DA’s victory party – chants of “F*** the police” and “No good cops in a racist system.”
We’ve now endured over a year and a half of the worst kinds of slander against law enforcement – the DA routinely calls police and prosecutors corrupt and racist, even “war criminals” that he compares to Nazis.
This vile rhetoric puts our police in danger. It disgraces the Office of the District Attorney. And it harms the good people in the City of Philadelphia and rewards the wicked.
The alleged shooter last night, Maurice Hill, is a previously convicted felon with a long rap sheet. We have plenty of criminal laws in this City – but what we don’t have is robust enforcement by the District Attorney. Instead, among other things, we have diversionary programs for gun offenses, the routine downgrading of charges for violent crime, and entire sections of the criminal code that are ignored.
The criminal laws in this City – and especially the existing gun laws and drug laws – should be aggressively enforced in order to protect the public and the police. My Office is doing all that we can. We have prosecuted 70% more violent crime cases this year than we did last year, in response to the District Attorney’s lawlessness. But it is now time for the District Attorney and his enablers to stop making excuses for criminals. It is time for accountability. It is time to support law enforcement and to put the good people of this City first.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Philadelphia police and our federal partners, is investigating the horrible events of last night and we are considering all options at our disposal. We will do everything that we can to support our brothers and sisters in the Philadelphia Police Department and ensure justice is done.
To the officers involved last night – those who were wounded and those who rushed to defend them – and to their families, I say thank you. The whole City thanks you. We owe you more than we can ever repay.
During a recent appearance on the Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, McSwain said that in the year and a half that Krasner has been in office, “homicides and shootings have skyrocketed.”
US Atty William McSwain on Philadelphia crime rate after a Soros-backed DA won: “Homicides and shootings have skyrocketed, worst kinds of violent crime have gone up…mid-level crimes have also gone up but they aren’t being reported…DA has said he's not going to prosecute them” pic.twitter.com/S1a3pZyqaN
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) August 15, 2019
Not surprisingly, Krasner is not a fan of the U.S. Attorney, either. In past interviews, he has called McSwain a “liar,” and former prosecutors in his office “war criminals,” the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month.
He accused the state’s Democratic attorney general of being “fork tongued” and Republicans in the state legislature of being members of a “right-wing hootenanny.”
Krasner has also openly clashed with the police union, saying its leadership is seeking to stymie his reform efforts.
“The culture that came out of Frank Rizzo was racist, brutal, toxic, tribal, and that long shadow still hangs over the department especially at the senior and supervisory levels,” he said, referring to a former police commissioner turned mayor in the 1970s.
His office has implemented policies to reduce the number criminals in jail.
Since he took office, Krasner says, more than 1,750 people have been freed on their own recognizance who, in the past, would have been required to make bail. In seeking more lenient sentences, his prosecutors have reduced future incarceration by a total of 4,179 years, a savings to the state of about $167 million, he says.
McSwain told the LA Times that his office has had to pick up the slack where Krasner was failing to prosecute crimes.
“The number one job of a prosecutor is to be concerned with public safety, and the data contradicts everything he is saying,” says U.S. Atty. McSwain, who contends that the number of homicides and shootings would be higher if his office hadn’t boosted prosecutions of violent criminals. “I am containing the damage,” he said.
Several local judges, who spoke on condition of anonymity, agreed with McSwain’s assessment — at least in part. They said crime is being under-reported by police and citizens because they do not think prosecutors will pursue certain low-level offenses, including drug possession and distribution or petty thefts.
“What’s the point in reporting a crime if you know the guy will remain on the street,” asked one judge. “Why bother?”
At a press conference on Thursday, Krasner said that it was “obvious” that the suspect didn’t belong on the streets, but prosecutors did not have a “crystal ball” to predict his behavior.