Diary

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Has Done What He Set Out To Do

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

For the editors of The Philadelphia Inquirer, it isn’t brutal criminals or gangbangers or thugs that kill people, but the nonsense term “gun violence,” as though guns magically roam the streets, firing themselves. Oddly enough, I have never seen a gun which just went off by itself, but maybe I’m just not as smart as the editors of what RedState writer Mike Miller laughingly called the Philadelphia Enquirer.

Multiple victims wounded in Strawberry Mansion shooting as gun violence continues in Philly

by Robert Moran and Julie Shaw, Updated: 5:19 PM EDT

Multiple people — possibly six — were wounded in a shooting Tuesday afternoon in the city’s Strawberry Mansion section, police said.

Police received their first report of a shooting just before 4 PM in the vicinity of 30th and York Streets. Victims were taken by private vehicle to Temple University Hospital.

Police were investigating several locations as possible crime scenes.

Earlier Tuesday, two boys were injured by gunfire in separate incidents, and an undercover narcotics officer was fired upon as gun violence continued in the city.

The concluding paragraph:

Over the weekend, 30 people were shot in the city, including five people at a party to honor a victim of gun violence.

I guess the only good news is that the gang bangers are such lousy shots. But at what point do the editors recognize that the problem isn’t guns, but bad people?

Let’s go back to 2017. The editors, surprisingly, endorsed Republican Beth Grossman over Democrat Larry Krasner for District Attorney. Daniel Denvir waxed wroth:

The Philadelphia Inquirer just endorsed mass incarceration

by Daniel Denvir | October 17, 2017

In May, Philadelphians went to the polls and made history, voting by a large margin to back civil rights attorney Larry Krasner in the city’s Democratic primary for district attorney. On Sunday, residents awoke to find that the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board had endorsed Krasner’s Republican opponent, Beth Grossman, a former top prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office.

Krasner rallied Philadelphians to an upstart, radical campaign calling for an end to the era of mass incarceration and impunity for police misconduct. The city’s struggling paper of record endorsed a candidate who presided over a nationally infamous civil asset forfeiture program through which prosecutors seized homes and other property from city residents, oftentimes poor and working-class, black and Latino. At least, the editorial gushed, she has “a welcome hesitancy to go for the death penalty.”

Philadelphians want change. The Inquirer board ploddingly declared itself for the enervating cause of defending an intolerable status quo that will most likely be defeated on election day.

But points for consistency: Grossman is the second candidate for top prosecutor the paper has endorsed who has also been backed by the city’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5, an unapologetically reactionary officers union headed by a man who recently called Black Lives Matter protesters “a pack of wild animals.” That first FOP-backed candidate the Inquirer endorsed was Rich Negrin, one of Krasner’s primary opponents. Oddly, the board’s praise for Negrin included a note that the “criminal justice pendulum has been swinging in a new direction for some time, away from ‘tough on crime,’” but failed to mention that it was Krasner’s insurgent, movement-based campaign that had swung the primary field to the left.

After a few more paragraphs of such drivel, Mr Denvir wrote:

In reality, the board’s rationale is a pretext to protect an office that has long prized convictions and lengthy sentences regardless of the costs or whether the outcomes comport with any sense of justice. The Inquirer praises Grossman for her career going “after drug dealers, gunslingers, thieves, and blighters” and her “passion for defending the rights of crime victims.” Not a word about mass incarceration. To editorialize in favor of such a brutal status quo is an insult to the Philadelphians on whose behalf the board purports to be writing.

Well, Mr Denvir got his wish: Larry Krasner won the election. And rather than Mrs Grossman going “after drug dealers, gunslingers, thieves, and blighters,” the City of Brotherly Love has a District Attorney who does not do that, who fired a whole slew of veteran prosecutors upon taking office, and who certainly doesn’t believe in “mass incarceration.”

The result? In 2018, Mr Krasner’s first year in office, city homicides jumped from 315 to 353, a 12.06% increase. The following year, homicides held almost steady, rising to 356, but so far this year, 276 people had been murdered in Philadelphia, a 31.43% increase over the same day (August 17th) last year. If the homicide rate of 1.2 killings per day continues, Philly should see 439 murders by the end of the year.

The cost of Mr Krasner’s victory, and the policies Mr Denvir wanted to see put in place, has been written in blood. Philadelphia has seen more murders, many more murders than New York City, which has more than five times Philly’s population.

Philadelphia’s daily average inmate population was 6,409 when Mr Krasner took office, and was down to 4,849 on August 31, 2019.

One of the people who wasn’t in jail on Friday, March 13, 2020, was Hasan Elliot, 21. How did the District Attorney’s office treat Mr Elliot, a known gang-banger?

  • Mr Elliott, then 18 years old, was arrested in June 2017 on gun- and drug-possession charges stemming after threatening a neighbor with a firearm. The District Attorney’s office granted him a plea bargain arrangement on January 24, 2018, and he was sentenced to 9 to 23 months in jail, followed by three years’ probation. However, he was paroled earlier than that, after seven months in jail.
  • Mr Elliot soon violated parole by failing drug tests and failing to mate his meetings with his parole officer.
  • Mr Elliott was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine on January 29, 2019. This was another parole violation, but Mr Krasner’s office did not attempt to have Mr Elliot returned to jail to finish his sentence, nor make any attempts to get serious bail on the new charges;he was released on his own recognizance.
  • After Mr Elliot failed to appear for his scheduled drug-possession trial on March 27, 2019, and prosecutors dropped those charges against him.

On that Friday the 13th, Police Corporal James O’Connor IV, 46, was part of a Philadelphia police SWAT team trying to serve a predawn arrest warrant on Mr Elliott, from a March 2019 killing. Mr Elliot greeted the SWAT team with a hail of bullets, and Corporal O’Connor was killed. Had Mr Elliot been in jail, as he could have been due to parole violations, had Mr Krasner’s office treated him seriously, Corporal O’Connor would have gone home safely to his wife that day. The Inquirer reported:

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 president John McNesby also has criticized Krasner, saying his policies led to the killing of O’Connor. “Unfortunately, he’s murdered by somebody that should have never been on the street,” McNesby said.

McNesby also said FOP members and police officers formed a human barricade to block Krasner from entering the hospital Friday to see O’Connor’s family.

The numbers don’t lie. Under Mayor Jim Kenney, who has managed to make past Mayors John Street and Michael Nutter look great, District Attorney Krasner and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw (who, to be honest, is really just Mayor Kenney’s puppet), Philadelphia has become measurably much worse. Mr Kenney has been in office since the beginning of 2016, and Mr Krasner since the start of 2018, and Philly is now much more dangerous. Their policies were put into governing practice, and, unless chaos and death was the goal all along, they failed miserably.
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