Republicans and Democrats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives announced a new committee this week devoted to examining rising crime rates in Philadelphia, hinting toward the recommended impeachment of District Attorney Larry Krasner (D-PA).
The “Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order” — led by three Republicans, as well as two Democrats representing Philadelphia — was created through the adoption of House Resolution 216. The legislation calls for lawmakers to investigate violent crime rates and the use of funds to prosecute offenders, and to make determinations on Krasner’s performance and suggest “removal from office or other appropriate discipline, including impeachment.”
“This bipartisan group of lawmakers understands that what residents and visitors of Philadelphia are currently experiencing must change,” House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-PA) said in a statement. “I am confident these members will work together to find solutions and hold those in power accountable for allowing crime in Philadelphia to reach the levels they have today.”
After assuming his post in 2018, Krasner prioritized progressive changes to the criminal justice system, including lax bail policies and reduced prosecutions for certain crimes, prompting hundreds of attorneys to leave his office.
With 562 homicides, the City of Brotherly Love experienced its highest level of homicides in 2021. The most recent surge in killings began in 2020, according to Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) data. Yet Krasner has denied that violence is a growing issue in Philadelphia.
“We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness, we don’t have a crisis of crime, we don’t have a crisis of violence,” he said at a press conference last year. “It’s important that we don’t let this become mushy and bleed into the notion that there is some kind of big spike in crime.”
News of violent crime in Philadelphia has repeatedly made national headlines, however. Last month, three people were murdered and 11 wounded in a mass shooting that involved multiple gunmen in a neighborhood of Philadelphia known for its bars and restaurants. “The events that transpired last evening on South Street are beyond devastating,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D-PA) said at the time. “Once again, we see lives senselessly lost and those injured in yet another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence.”
In another high-profile incident, seven juveniles beat an elderly man to death with a traffic cone. “The teens struck the victim several times with objects, knocking the victim to the ground causing injuries to his head,” the PPD said. “The victim was transported to the hospital where he died of his injuries the following day.”
Krasner is by no means the only progressive prosecutor to face scrutiny in recent months. San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who likewise eliminated cash bail and shifted priorities away from prosecuting shoplifters, was successfully recalled last month by the city’s voters. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón presently faces a recall after more than 715,000 citizens endorsed a petition to begin the process, according to the Los Angeles Times.
A study from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund recently found that George Soros — a progressive billionaire and founder of the Open Society Foundations — has spent roughly $40 million over the past decade to elect dozens of progressive prosecutors across the country. The officials preside over 20% of Americans and more than 40% of homicides in the United States.