District Attorney Larry Krasner Responds to Backlash Surrounding ‘Crisis’ Comments | Local news

District Attorney Larry Krasner sparked controversy on Monday, saying Philadelphia is not a city in crisis as gun violence reaches historic levels.

Statistically, nothing Krasner said was incorrect. While homicides rose 13% to 524, the total violent crime is down 3.4%, according to the Philadelphia Police Department.

On Thursday afternoon, the district attorney’s office released a statement that Krasner said his post offended people.

“The message conveyed by the sound bites of the media is not at all what I meant,” Krasner said. “Complete data-driven responses aimed at finding solutions to gun violence will be turned into sound clips. It’s my job to make sure even these sound clips are safe. As someone whose strong support is due in part to the fact that I don’t communicate or make decisions like a career politician, it is my duty to do better. “

However, some city leaders, past and present, find it misleading to say that Philadelphia is not in crisis when there are incidents of gun violence every day. It was the deadliest homicide year on record in Philadelphia, with 1,716 non-fatal shootings.

People get shot after attending baby showers, at bus stops, sitting on their porches, walking home from school, and even after being run over by other cars.

In an op-ed published by the Philadelphia Inquirer, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said, “Words matter. Words have an impact, and trigger, and hurt. The words mean something on the part of the elect. the thousands of people shot dead this year. He ignored the pain of the living and insulted the memory of the dead.

While Nutter was mayor, annual homicides fell from 346 to 296 per year, with 400 fewer homicides during his eight-year tenure than under Mayor John Street.

A statement issued by the office of current Mayor Jim Kenny said: “Mayor Kenney and the administration believe the city is in the midst of a crisis of gun violence that continues to plague our communities, and we are working with all of our resources to address it. . The increase in violence is disturbing, unacceptable and must be tackled. We strive to continue to work in partnership with communities and at all levels of government to address the gun violence crisis and protect the lives of all Philadelphians. “

Kenney did not respond directly to Krasner’s comments during the bi-weekly response to the gun violence hearing.

Former Philadelphia DA Seth Williams, the first black person to hold the post, said Krasner’s comments devalue the lives of those killed.

“So his comments make me angry,” Williams said. “He sold a false choice and a false narrative to the public that the way to fix the criminal justice system is only to fight racism. No, we have to do it. But at the same time, we have to promote and ensure public safety. . “

Council member Jamie Gauthier, D-3rd District, has been a supporter of Krasner’s work and recently spoke out on his behalf during his weekly briefings. However, she called his words on Monday insensitive.

“I have long admired DA Krasner and his approach to criminal justice reform in Philadelphia. However, I think the comments he made earlier this week were callous,” Gauthier said. “It has long been clear that we are in the midst of a gun violence crisis, not only from the data, but also from the experiences of people traumatized by gun violence in their communities who have lost souls. dear because of this epidemic. It is imperative that our leaders be clear about the situation we are facing and their role in dealing with it. To end this crisis, we must all work together on a collaborative and urgent solution.

Gauthier called for an emergency response to the rising level of homicides in September 2020, when the city reached 300 deaths.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw was also asked about Krasner’s comments on Wednesday. She said she did not hear specifically what the prosecutor said, but made it clear that law enforcement is working through a difficult time as gun violence rages across Philadelphia.

“So I would say that any type of comment, no matter who it is from, any type of comment or action that compromises our ability to be successful, that’s obviously a hindrance,” Outlaw said. “But I hope that as we move forward we can all be aligned and working on the same page.”

City comptroller Rebecca Ryhnhart made a statement on the growing threat of gun violence in the city.

“Philadelphia has seen its homicide rate increase every year for the past five years and as of last night there were 523 homicides, the highest number in any year since the city started tracking it in 1960,” Rhynhart said. “There is absolutely a crisis of violence. Each elected leader must recognize it and come to the table ready to work together to resolve it. The people of our city don’t feel safe right now, and that’s not good. It is a central government. responsibility for providing security, and Philadelphians need a plan of action, now, to stop gun violence. “

Council member Kenyatta Johnson D-2nd District has made it clear that he will continue to work with Krasner to develop short and long term solutions to the violence plaguing the city. Kenyatta said he had never seen widespread gun violence as a longtime Philadelphian.

“My constituents in the Second Council District (parts of South Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia, and downtown) tell me that they don’t feel safe because of gun violence, and they feel that ‘A sense of lawlessness is allowed in Philadelphia, “Johnson said.

“This gun violence is a five-alarm emergency, and it is devastating our communities,” he said. “We absolutely have to do everything in our power to stop it. Quite simply, our community members are drowning and we don’t have life jackets for everyone. It’s a gun violence crisis. of epic proportions. This is a moral crisis. It is an economic crisis. It is a crisis of racial justice. It is a human crisis. Now is the time to act, boldly and urgently. ” “

Krasner says his office is focused on real solutions to the problem plaguing the city. He insisted that investing in the development of a larger, more comprehensive forensic unit with adequate space will help reduce gun crimes in Philadelphia.

“The real solutions that prevent the next victimization of people who are mostly black, brown and poor will never include the illegal arrest and search of half a million black and brown youth, or a return to the mass incarceration paid for by shutting down libraries, shutting down public schools, and shutting down treatment and vocational training, “Krasner said. gun violence, as this pandemic has proven across the country. The real solutions require solving more forensic cases than Philadelphia has ever adequately funded. Real solutions include real prevention, fairness that restores community confidence in law enforcement, and a laser focus on the most serious crime, gun violence. “

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