Friday, September 4, 2020

Larry Krasner, Look In The Mirror

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

When it comes to the city's gun violence epidemic and record murder rate, District Attorney Larry Krasner blames poverty, unemployment, and failing schools.

He blames the courts for shutting down, the cops for not making narcotics arrests during the pandemic, and for having a low clearance rate for murder cases.

He blames society in general, by saying that gun violence is a national problem that's plaguing every big city in America. But the one thing Krasner never does, however, is blame himself. Nor does he ever blame the lenient policies of his progressive D.A.'s office that have created a revolving door for armed and dangerous drug dealers.

Last week, Krasner, who has refused to talk to Big Trial for more than a year, was deploying all of his customary evasive tactics during a 17-minute Fox 29 interview, where Krasner sparred with Good Day hosts Mike Jerrick and Alex Holley. For Krasner, it was a remarkable display of arrogance, dodging the question, and creating one's own version of reality.

The hosts on Fox got things going by replaying a quote from a recent interview with Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, where she explained that she's been asking "for data from the D.A.'s office" concerning the "outcomes" of cases. Outlaw wants the D.A. to share what happens in the courts, after the police make arrests.

Yes, Outlaw's been repeatedly asking for that data, but Krasner won't give it to her.

"But he [Krasner] has to do his part as well, to look at the data that he has, because we don't have access to that" data, Outlaw pleaded on camera.

"It's one thing to charge a case but as these cases matriculate through the criminal justice system, are they being downgraded somewhere else?" Outlaw asked. 

The answer is hell yes.

"And if so, why did that happen, and by whom?" Outlaw asked. "So we can go back and take a look at that in real time this is something that we don't want to repeat going forward."

Jerrick then introduced the guy who's most responsible for downgrading all those cases with a throwaway line, by saying, Welcome, Mr. D.A., and, "We haven't seen you in a while."

But Krasner, with his slicked back hair and prickly attitude, wasn't going to concede anything to his critics, not even this small point.

"Hold on there Mike, you've actually seen me quite a bit," Krasner said, before referring to a previous appearance on the weekend version of Good Day last October with host Lauren Dawn.

Krasner then came out on offense, asserting that he has an "excellent relationship" with the police commissioner, and that the Outlaw quotes they had just played on Fox were out of context. 

The reality, according to Krasner, was that he and Outlaw are great pals who have "done some things collaboratively that have never been done before in Philadelphia." This assertion isn't true, as I explain below.

Next, Krasner did some tap-dancing about crime, the nightly shootings in the streets, and the escalating body count.

"It is a national issue, and its an unprecedented issue in that we have this happening in all the biggest cities," Krasner said. "And we also have a situation where crime is going down including in Philadelphia, and violent crime is going down," he claimed. But then he conceded, "shootings and homicides are way up."

Krasner asserted that his office was vigorously pursuing prosecution of gun crimes, which isn't true, and then he slammed the cops for having a poor clearance rate of solving murder cases of only 14 percent in July, and only 9 percent in August.

Here, Krasner was paving over how long it takes to solve a murder case, apparently wanting these complex investigations done in weeks instead of months. According to Krasner, that low police clearance rate meant that "There's more that we can do together," he said, referring to his newfound collaboration with the police commissioner.

"This is why the district attorney's office, for the first time in history, has put our assistants, in all the different police divisions," Krasner proudly proclaimed. "We have two of our ADAs, our attorneys, out there in the police divisions working with detectives to solve shootings."

Where to start? The D.A. shipping assistant district attorneys out to each police district isn't new, it was tried previously by disgraced former D.A. Rufus Seth Williams, that valiant crime fighter who wound up in jail. And former ADAs who are familiar with that exercise in public relations have described it as a waste of time.

Why? Because murders typically don't happen on weekdays from 9 to 5, when those ADAs were hanging out at the police districts.

Secondly, the ADAs Krasner has assigned to the police district are mostly rookies who just got out of law school. The idea that they could help detectives solve a gun crime is frankly comedy.

Next, the Good Day hosts played a clip of an interview with U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, who was slamming Krasner for his lax prosecution of gun crimes.

"This slaughter in our streets has largely been met with indifference," McSwain said, adding, "as the district attorney frequently puts it, 'poverty equals bullets.' "

McSwain took exception to that.

"No, that condescending statement is a slap in the face to every law-abiding, low-income resident in the city," McSwain said. He proceeded to talk about the scores of people "who respect the law, never shoot anybody, help their neighbors and love their neighborhood."

"Poverty is never an excuse for violent crime," McSwain said to conclude his rebuke of Krasner.

When the Fox hosts asked Krasner for his take on McSwain's comments, Krasner was still into denial.

"Well, it's obviously a ridiculous misstatement of what I said," Krasner said. "Unfortunately, Mr. McSwain is doing what he's always done, politicizing his office."

Sorry, Mr. D.A., but McSwain was quoting you accurately. When The Philadelphia Inquirer covered an Aug. 11th emergency virtual hearing in City Council on gun violence, the newspaper quoted Krasner as saying, "Simply put, poverty equals bullets." And then the Inky added that Krasner was "repeating a line he has used before," referring to a July 16th "Into America" interview that Krasner did on MSNBC.

Where a posted transcript quotes Krasner as saying, "You know, the truth is that poverty equals bullets. And poverty has always equaled bullets."

It's a line of the D.A.'s that Krasner's spokesperson, Jane Roh, has repeatedly tweeted, in quotation marks. But once again, Krasner was conceding nothing to his critics, even if they did quote him accurately. And then he admitted, in a round about way, that he did equate poverty to violence. 

"If you look at the map of poverty in Philadelphia you will see the map of violence," Krasner told the Good Day hosts. "It's the same thing."

Krasner then talked about about the "three quarters of a billion" dollars that the city's spends on law enforcement, compared to how little is spent on education and preventing gun violence.

"Unless you invest in prevention then the police and prosecution are frankly cleaning up the mess," Krasner the revolutionary lectured his TV audience.

Host Jerrick tried to bring up the obvious.

"So many people think that you are the problem because you're so lenient," Jerrick told Krasner point-blank. And Holley added that Krasner was talking about long-term solutions, but, she added, "What about the now?"

"But how did we get to the now," Krasner retorted.

Jerrick tried once more to get back to the now, by talking about what all the cops he knows have repeatedly told him about Krasner.

"They say you're too lenient," Jerrick said. "People get out of prison and they repeat crimes."

Surely you hear this same kind of criticism every day, Jerrick asked Krasner.

But again, the D.A. was conceding nothing.

You know what he does hear every day, Krasner claimed. People "thank me as I walk down the street for trying to be fair and balanced and even handed," he said.

He conceded his critics had a right to their opinions, but then he discounted all of them by saying, "Opinions should be backed by facts. I am giving you facts and I am giving you specifics."

But Krasner wasn't giving the Fox hosts any facts, or any specifics. Just like he hasn't giving any data to the police commissioner.

The Fox 29 hosts wanted to talk about "high-profile cases." Such as Jovaun Patterson, the assailant armed with an AK-47 who beat, robbed, and shot Mike Poeng.

The victim was a refugee who escaped the killing fields of Cambodia to come to America and prosper as the owner of his own West Philadelphia deli. Until Patterson's attack left Poeng permanently paralyzed. 

The D.A.'s office under Krasner gave Patterson a lenient sentence of 3 1/2 to 10 years. Then U.S. Attorney McSwain stepped in, and prosecuted Patterson in federal court, giving him a 14-year sentence. 

In the Good Day interview, Krasner falsely claimed that he welcomed McSwain's entry into the case. Then he defended himself by downplaying the Patterson case, "which is, of course, an anecdote," he said dismissively. He also claimed his critics were overlooking the "sweeping way" that his office is prosecuting crime.

The D.A.'s office, Krasner says, handles some 40,000 cases annually, "and the reality is the vast majority of gun cases, shooting cases, homicide cases are prosecuted by my office and they're prosecuted vigorously."

This is provably false BS from the D.A. It's also the reason why Krasner is reluctant to give Outlaw any statistics about what happens to the crimes that his office allegedly prosecutes.

Here's what happens with gun crimes. Krasner typically downgrades the charges, giving every criminal a break. And even when somebody does plead guilty, they always get a lenient sentence, and typically walk immediately out of jail.

As previously reported, when Big Trial tracked the D.A.'s handling of 236 arrests for carrying illegal guns for one month, July 2019, as of March 16th, the last day the courts were open in Philadelphia, 66 of those cases, or nearly 28 percent, had either been dropped, dismissed or lost by the D.A.'s office.

Of those 236 gun cases, only 37 defendants to date, or 15.6 percent, had been found guilty. And all 37 were the result of plea bargains where every defendant got a sentence well below state sentencing guidelines for gun crimes. Of the 37 plea bargains, 17 defendants either got parole and walked immediately, or they got credit for time served and walked immediately.

Of those 236 gun cases, not a single case to date has resulted in a defendant being convicted by a judge or jury of being guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Of those 236 gun cases, only two cases ever made it to trial, and the D.A.'s office lost both cases.

These are the kind of statistics that Krasner is reluctant to share with Outlaw, and won't discuss on TV, with good reason. Because it would show that Krasner's office is corrupt, incompetent, and a complete disgrace to law enforcement.

On camera, Krasner referred to "anecdote" cases as bringing "more heat than light" to the debate over gun violence. 

Jerrick retorted that the deli owner who got shot and was left paralyzed "doesn't think it's an anecdote." Then Jerrick mentioned the family of Corporal James O'Connor, who was murdered by a couple of armed and dangerous drug dealers that Krasner had previously, and repeatedly let out of jail. 

"They don't think that's an anecdote" either, Jerrick told a stone-faced Krasner. 

For his last question, Jerrick asked the D.A. how he thinks he'll do at the polls next year when he's up for reelection.

"I have absolutely no doubt I will be reelected," was Krasner's cocky reply.

5 comments

  1. For Krasner, it was a remarkable display of arrogance, dodging the obvious, and his ability to create his own reality.

    TRUMP-ish, for sure.

    Reminds this writer of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry is very concerned with his upcoming polygraph examination. George consoled him (or in this case, Larry K)......"Don`t worry, if you believe it, it is not a lie."

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  2. At this point, it is safe to say that Krasner's experiment has failed. McSwain is right, saying that poverty equals bullets is not only a slap in the face of low-income people, its also discriminatory and biased. He should have singled out law-breaking gun-toting criminals who are terrorizing neighborhoods as the culprits. Not low-income hard-working people who just want peace and safety and to be able to raise their families in a safe environment. People who are afraid to let their children play on the street or to sit on their front porches, being able to socialize builds communities not hiding for cover from stay bullets inside of your home. This is weakening the fabric of our communities, who can rebuild with the very real fear of dying for being outside or for being involved in trying to take back the streets.

    Unless, Krasner steps up to make quality of life issues his priority, he has failed all of us, he absolutely did not make us safer, he made matters worse. Trying to right the injustices, which do exist in the judicial system does not mean letting people who should not be on the streets back out to commit more crimes. The black community that supported him could not have been thinking this was his plan to have a lawless city, where criminals seem to be running the show. We all wanted equality and justice, not death and destruction.

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  3. Krasner looks in the mirror, he's gonna see a red guy with horns and a long tail, holding a pitch fork. Lucifer.

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  5. Larry and Jane's mantra is Poverty means bullets.I have walked through Chinatown for 40 years.I see many impoverished immigrants. When does the shooting start.

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