Philly Voters Re-Elected DA Larry Krasner But Non-Philly Republicans Gonna Impeach Him Anyway

State/Local Politics
Philly Voters Re-Elected DA Larry Krasner But Non-Philly Republicans Gonna Impeach Him Anyway

Republican lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives announced Monday that they’re starting the impeachment process against Democratic Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, whom they think they can knock off like San Francisco's Chesa Boudin blame for the city’s rising crime rates.

From NBC Philadelphia:

“We did not arrive at this decision lightly or easily. In fact, we are taking this action after we have taken significant steps to pass legislation that addresses violent crime in Philadelphia by ensuring our current laws are enforced,” said state Rep. Josh Kail, who represents the 15th House district along the Pennsylvania-Ohio border. “We are starting this process now because the unchecked violent crime in Philadelphia has reached a breaking point due to the willful refusal by District Attorney Krasner to enforce existing laws.”

Philadelphia has recently experienced an unprecedented level of gun violence. Fourteen people were shot on South Street last week in the city’s worst mass shooting in years. This probably has more to do with the proliferation of guns in this country than anything Krasner’s done. It’s not as if he doesn’t prosecute gun violence.

However, Republicans have seized upon rising crime rates across the nation to polish off Rudy Giuliani’s broken windows policies. They are specifically targeting progressive district attorneys who campaigned as reformers.


Krasner worked as a defense attorney for 30 years, specializing in civil rights cases. He’s represented Black Lives Matter and Occupy Philadelphia members. After his election in 2017, Krasner dropped all marijuana possession charges. He ordered prosecutors to stop seeking cash bail for some suspects charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. He asked prosecutors to stop hassling sex workers. He’s aggressively pursued police misconduct, including charging Philadelphia SWAT officer Richard P. Nicoletti with simple assault and reckless endangerment. Nicoletti was caught on video pepper spraying kneeling protesters during the 2020 racial justice protests. He removed one woman’s mask — during the height of the pandemic — to pepper spray her directly in the face.

It’s insulting to suggest that holding police accountable and not detaining nonviolent offenders indefinitely prior to an actual trial somehow led to “widespread lawlessness.” Krasner’s progressive policies are not the seeds from which the weeds of violent crime grow.

Philadelphians elected Krasner, but the GOP lawmakers who want him impeached don’t even go here. State Reps. Josh Kail, Torren Ecker, and Tom O’Neal are all from rural western Pennsylvania

“This isn’t about whether or not I like him,” said State Rep. Timothy O’Neal, whose district is southwest of Pittsburgh. “This is about the fact that he is willfully failing to do his job.”

O’Neal has zero evidence that Krasner is somehow promoting violent crime. Impeachment is not a do-over for an election. Krasner’s opponents had their shot to remove him from office last year, but he still won re-election. The Philadelphia police union instructed its members to switch parties so they could vote against Krasner in the Democratic primary. His challenger was Carlos Vega, whom Krasner had fired once he started implementing reforms, and for good reason: Vega, as prosecutor, had retried a man on rape and murder charges even after DNA determined someone else committed the crime. That’s not the sort of DA who makes anyone safe.

Rural America has also experienced a rise in violent crime. The residents don’t have Black Lives Matter and progressives to blame, so they resort to — shudder — empathy.

From the Wall Street Journal:

In rural counties, where ties between police and locals are often less fraught, officials say the reasons for the rising violence are hard to pinpoint. They speculate that the breakdown of deeply rooted social connections that bind together many small communities, coupled with the stress of the pandemic, played a role.

Pastors point to the suspension of rituals such as in-person church services, town gatherings and everyday exchanges between neighbors. Such interactions can serve as guardrails, helping to prevent conflicts from turning violent. The psychological and financial stress due to isolation and job loss were especially pronounced in remote areas, where social services were limited even before Covid-19 struck, local leaders say.

The pandemic was an emotional bummer for brown people in cities, as well.

Republican state Sen. Jake Corman, who represents State College in central Pennsylvania, called for Krasner’s impeachment back in February. We assume he can count, so he must know the Senate doesn’t have the votes to remove Krasner from office even if the state House impeaches him after an investigation into his alleged wrongdoing. But this is a political bloodletting, not a constructive means to address rising crime rates.

It’s also a preview of coming attractions if the GOP regains the US House. It won’t take long before Republicans are filing impeachment articles against President Joe Biden and even Vice President Kamala Harris for the so-called “border crisis” or inflation in general.

[Philadelphia Inquirer / Wall Street Journal]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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