During a U.S. House Judiciary Committee field hearing in Philadelphia on Friday, committee members heard firsthand about Philadelphia police officer Sgt. James O’Connor’s death from his widow, Terri.

“We have a city in shambles,” Terri O’Connor told the committee. “We have a district attorney who says crime is down. Obviously, if you don’t prosecute criminals, it appears that way.”

For Republicans, it was more proof that the progressive policies of District Attorney Larry Krasner are making the community less safe.

“Soft on crime prosecutors mixed with elected leadership defunding the police lead to disastrous consequences for citizens,” said Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in criticism of Democrat Krasner.

Democrats accused the GOP of exaggerating the problem.

“Violent crime in Philadelphia has decreased dramatically in recent years,” countered local Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.).

It was a flashpoint in the argument within political circles on the tough-on-crime vs. defund the police policies.

Scanlon suggested the hearing was a political stunt so Republicans could score political points “off the pain of families who have suffered grievous losses.”

She and other committee Democrats, including fellow Delaware Valley Rep. Madeleine Dean, said firearms were the biggest issue in America and that House Republicans refused to act.

Republicans said Krasner’s tenure as Philadelphia’s top prosecutor has been rife with pro-criminal policies that reduce public safety and deny justice. That included Krasner-era decisions to not seek cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies and not prosecuting marijuana or prostitution arrests.

Witnesses at the hearing included family members of two high-profile cop killings.

The father of murdered Temple University Officer Christopher Fitzgerald told the committee an entire community suffered mental trauma after the 31-year-old was shot to death and robbed in a heavily populated area last year. The teen suspect was also accused of carjacking someone moments after Fitzgerald’s death.

“[These] weak prosecutorial efforts that have happened in this city have basically eviscerated a once-noble police department,” said Dr. Joel Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, a former Philadelphia cop, is now chief of police for the Denver Regional Transportation District.

Fitzgerald said Krasner was part of the problem in Philadelphia. He expressed pessimism that Krasner would work with Mayor Cherelle Parker and new Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel to reduce crime.

Krasner was impeached by the Pennsylvania House in 2022 for dereliction of duty involving rising crime. The Senate trial has been delayed after the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rendered a split decision.

Yet, he was noticeably absent at the hearing.

Krasner claimed he had no clue the hearing was scheduled until Wednesday but that he would show up if he was asked.

“Hide your children,” Krasner quipped. “I’ll be happy to answer their questions, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s not about the truth.”

Fitzgerald said Krasner was the one avoiding the truth. He said Krasner learned about the hearing last month because Fitzgerald and his wife told him.

“He should be summoned before you now and answer why he would go on television and tell the community here that he’s supposed to serve, for the victims that he’s supposed to serve, that lie,” said an angry Fitzgerald. “He needs to be held accountable for it.”

Tempers briefly flared between committee members near the end of the hearing.

Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.) became incensed after he was interrupted while asking a witness a question.

“You want to sit here and defend [Democrat fundraiser] George Soros?” Meuser said to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). “You’re the one who received contributions from him. Larry Krasner received $1.5 million. I’m in the middle of my testimony!”

Nadler asked if Krasner had been invited and how Fitzgerald knew that Krasner had been told about the hearing.

“There was no point to Mr. Krasner coming to this hearing if he couldn’t testify,” Nadler complained.

“You lost your credibility when you compared this to a non-violent, frivolous suit in New York,” Meuser replied. “While we have people here whose family members have been murdered.”

Jordan said after the hearing that he didn’t invite Krasner to the hearing because it was important to give a platform to people who have been impacted by policies that cause rising crime.

“I don’t know why the Democrats didn’t invite him,” he said.