Pennsylvania progressives are circling the wagons around one of their own as a bipartisan committee prepares to convene Thursday to consider his impeachment.
The bipartisan state House Select Committee is expected to hear testimony from witnesses regarding the impeachment of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner at the Navy Yard on Thursday and Friday.
The crime data on Krasner’s watch aren’t in dispute. Last year, there were a record 562 homicides in the city, and as of September 26, another 400 people were murdered this year. Both elected officials and city residents have demanded action. Many blame Krasner’s progressive policies — he’s been called “Philly cops’ worst enemy” — for the rising tide of crime.
Committee members have been asked not to comment publicly about the hearings, said David Foster, a spokesperson for the House Republicans. Krasner’s political allies, however, have been outspoken.
The Working Families Party, a left-wing political organization that endorses candidates at the state and local level, announced Friday it is pulling its endorsements from Democrats like state Reps. Danilo Burgos and Nancy Guenst who voted to condemn Krasner for not responding to the House Select Committee’s subpoena.
And the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity joined a group of legislative Democrats last week to rally on behalf of Krasner, despite the fact people of color have disproportionally been victims of violent crime under Krasner.
“This is directly connected to a historical legacy of people trying to take the votes of Black people right out of our hands,” said the Rev. Mark Kelly Taylor, pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E Church. “If we sit back silently and Larry Krasner is impeached successfully no elected official within the city of Philadelphia is safe in the future.”
Krasner released a statement Monday calling the bipartisan effort “a bad faith, unconstitutional attempt to overturn the 2021 election over my office’s policies of evenly applied and equal accountability for all who criminally cause harm to our communities.”
State Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) is not on the committee, but she has been very outspoken about crime and Krasner’s record. She laid the blame for the hearings at his feet.
“District Attorney Larry Krasner was given ample opportunity to work with the committee but was found in contempt for not complying with a lawful subpoena,” said White. “This committee is holding fact-finding hearings in Philadelphia and Mr. Krasner’s efforts to instigate his most radical supporters to disrupt the committee’s hearings will not be tolerated or successful.
“Victims of crime who have suffered due to the actions and inaction of the district attorney will not be silenced any longer,” White said. “Whistleblowers should have every right to come forward. What is Larry Krasner hiding?”
White previously led a group of Philadelphia crime victims to Harrisburg to protest Krasner’s lack of prosecution and to press lawmakers to do something.
In his public statement, Krasner also complained about the hearings being held at the Navy Yard which, he says, are inconvenient for city residents to attend.
A spokeswoman for Krasner did not respond to a request for comment.
Before his re-election in 2021, Krasner spoke to the Delaware Valley Journal, blaming the spiking crime rate on the COVID-19 pandemic. And as for statistics on increased gun charges being filed but fewer defendants convicted, Krasner blamed the circumstances of cases that are not provable “beyond a reasonable doubt,” giving an example of five people in a car with a gun in the trunk.
“You have to look at these on a case-by-case basis,” Krasner said.