by Lowman S. Henry | October 10, 2022

Emblematic of the lawlessness that has engulfed the City of Philadelphia
was the scene in late September at a Roosevelt Avenue Wawa where what
media reports described as a “massive group” of teenagers descended
upon the store running wild and looting while employees stood by helpless
to stop the mob.

It was by no means the most heinous crime committed this year in the
former City of Brotherly Love, but the incident demonstrated the degree to
which law and order has been set back on its heels by a combination of
woke policies that have handcuffed law enforcement while criminals run
free from prosecution.

Crime statistics are alarming. Nearly 1,000 murders have been committed
in the City of Philadelphia over the past 20 months. At that pace, in a little
more than two years a population equivalent to that of Braddock will have
been slaughtered. Braddock, of course, is home to Pennsylvania’s
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman whose policy goal is to substantially
empty out the state’s prisons.

But Philadelphia has a more local problem: District Attorney Larry Krasner.
Krasner is one of a number of big-city D.A.s backed by Leftwing financier
George Soros whose lenient prosecutorial policies have unleashed crime
waves in cities across the nation.

As crime rises and citizens fear for their personal safety those District
Attorneys are finally getting push back. For example in San Francisco
residents overwhelmingly voted to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin
who among other progressive policies fought to end cash bail and stopped
the prosecution of minors as adults.

Krasner’s key role enabling the crime crisis in Philadelphia has caught the
attention of state lawmakers. State Representatives Josh Kail (R-
Beaver/Washington), Torrin Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) and Tim O’Neal
(R-Washington) have begun impeachment proceedings against Krasner. In
doing so Kail stated: “We are starting this process now because the
unchecked violent crime in Philadelphia has reached a breaking point due
to the willful refusal by District Attorney Krasner to enforce existing laws.”

Subsequently, the House established a Select Committee on Restoring
Law and Order which has been vested with subpoena power to investigate
the causes of the crime surge and Krasner’s role in creating an
environment which has allowed it to flourish. Krasner has been
stonewalling the committee refusing to comply with subpoenas resulting in
a bi-partisan vote by the full House holding him in contempt.

Despite Krasner’s flaunting of the committee’s jurisdiction it has begun
holding hearings — and the picture being painted is grim. The Center
Square reported: “The committee heard video testimony from families of
murder victims who criticized both the district attorney’s office and the
Philadelphia Police Department for incompetence and a perceived lack of
care. The picture that emerged was one of police officers who failed to do
the basic work expected of them and a district attorney’s office that did little
to bring charges against suspects or reach out to the families of murder
victims.”

Since the beginning of the year, there have been nearly 1,000 people
injured or killed by gun violence in Philadelphia. The progressive answer to
this problem is to promote laws restricting the rights of law abiding gun
owners. But the real problem is a lack of enforcement of existing laws.
In a second day of hearings the committee learned that Krasner has
withdrawn from participation in the statewide Pennsylvania District
Attorneys Association. The association provides training, legal updates,
and other resources for prosecutors” statewide.

Commenting on Krasner’s failure to aggressively prosecute existing gun
laws committee Chairman John Lawrence (R-West Grove) said : “If you fire
dozens of seasoned ADAs (assistant district attorneys) and replace them
with new folks, perhaps right out of law school, and then fail to provide
them with the training that’s recognized as the gold standard across the
entire commonwealth, you run the real risk of rookies making basic
procedural errors.”

By error of omission or sin of commission Philadelphia’s conviction rate for
Violations of the Universal Firearms Act stood at 77% compared to a
statewide average of 83% — worse the rate of failure to even bring a case
rose from 7% of arrests to 21% of arrests in Philadelphia.

The process for impeaching a district attorney is long and difficult. But for
residents of the state’s largest city waiting until the next election in 2025
would mean a continued escalation of the car-jackings, looting, gun
violence, and murders that have plagued the city.

That is unacceptable. Public safety is the first and most important function
of government and it is time that folks can live, work and visit our state’s
largest city and do so without fear of becoming the next crime victim.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of
the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal and American Radio Journal. His e-mail
address is [email protected])

Permission to reprint is granted providing author and affiliation are cited.