In the wake of looting, arson and violence across the city, the U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania minced no words regarding Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s handling of the George Floyd riots.
“I think that what’s important is for people to recognize — and all public officials in Philadelphia responsible for public safety — to speak with one voice to condemn this looting, condemn this rioting, condemn this lawlessness,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain told WPHT radio’s Dom Giordano.
“And I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, our district attorney [in Philadelphia] is not really interested in any of that. He’s not showing any concern for the safety of the community.”
Moments later, McSwain said the situation had been marginally improving from the weekend’s riots.
“I think that we are on the right road, but the reason that we’re on that road has nothing to do with Krasner, who is essentially fanning the flames of this.”
Krasner ran on a criminal justice reform platform premised on the belief that the system is racist and unjust, and that prosecutors should avoid sending people to prison and instead address “root causes” of crime. Krasner’s candidacy was supported by liberal progressive activist and billionaire George Soros.
Six months into Krasner’s term, the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that at a “speaking engagement at Harvard Law School in March, several advocacy groups described [Krasner] as “the most progressive DA in the country.”
And the momentum from Krasner’s win in 2018 may have trickled into the Delaware Valley counties when Delaware County elected Jack Stollsteimer, another Soros-backed progressive, as their county district attorney. A news release from the county said Stollsteimer was the “first Democrat elected Delaware County District Attorney in the modern history of the county.”
McSwain, a Chester County resident, says Krasner’s reform orientation has cost Philadelphia.
“Looting is something that is traditionally a local problem,” he said when asked what federal charges could be brought against looters.
“And if somebody smashes a window and runs into a Wal-Mart and runs out with a big screen TV, that is a local criminal charge. And that person, by the way, is not a freedom-fighter. That is not a protester even though Mr. Krasner would like to treat them as so.”
“The people demand justice & repair,” Krasner tweeted on Sunday as the riots continued. “We cannot allow the destructive acts of a few opportunists who care nothing about black lives to diminish this righteous & urgent movement #BlackLivesMatter”
The people demand justice & repair. We cannot allow the destructive acts of a few opportunists who care nothing about black lives to diminish this righteous & urgent movement #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/ebJHvmFbGL
— DA Larry Krasner (@DA_LarryKrasner) May 31, 2020
“My office has been reviewing arrests all day,” Krasner also tweeted on the same day. “People who engage in criminal acts will be charged appropriately. But we must also protect the 1st Amendment rights of Philadelphians who are rightly outraged by racist systems & corruption.”
Krasner’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Delaware Valley Journal.
There appear to be no reliable cost estimates on the Philadelphia riots so far. On Saturday, at least 13 police were injured.
These two attorneys have clashed before.
Just two months ago, McSwain argued that the fatal shooting of a Philadelphia police officer, “was the direct result of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s pro-violent-defendant policies.”
Currently, McSwain said his office was reviewing all of the tools at their disposal to “bring the federal hammer down.”
“It does take some time to put together federal cases,” he said. “But we will be announcing some federal arrests in the coming days and we’re going to do everything we can to protect public safety.
All of McSwain’s comments came after he initially said, “I don’t think anybody can look at the [George Floyd] video and not be shocked and upset.”