Monday, September 12, 2022

Arrogant D.A. Krasner Takes No Blame For Record Bloodshed

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

He was rude and argumentative, arrogant and condescending, as well as downright insulting. 

But let's cut District Attorney Larry Krasner some slack.

After literally running away from Big Trial at five recent press conferences over the past 11 weeks, today the D.A. finally summoned up enough courage to stand his ground and actually call on somebody in the local media who might ask him a tough question.

It happened during the last five minutes of a 55-minute joint press conference where Krasner had shared the stage with Philly's other two top leaders who are similarly clueless on how to stop the gun violence -- Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. 

"Alright, Mr. Cipriano, do you have a question that's on the subject mater of this press conference," Krasner asked, at yet another forum that the D.A. was sponsoring where the topic was Philadelphia's latest senseless act of murder.

"I certainly do, Mr. Krasner," I replied. 

For the past five years, I began, the D.A. has blamed police, judges, witnesses who don't show up in court, as well as drugs, poverty, lousy schools and the pandemic for the historic levels of gun violence in Philadelphia.

The one person the D.A. never blames, I pointed out, was Larry Krasner. 

While I was trying to ask my question, Krasner was adjusting his glasses, licking his lips and grimacing. 

He also kept interrupting me.

First, he charged that I had mischaracterized his comments. 

Then, he grew more hostile. 

"Is there a question at the end of your speech?" Krasner demanded. "What's the question, sir . . . Sir,  is there a question . . . what's the question?"

"For all the record violence that we've had," I asked Krasner after he finally shut up, "homicides, shootings and carjackings in record numbers for two straight years, are you still saying that your policies have nothing to do with the increase in gun violence?"

"Yes," Krasner arrogantly replied. "And I think every bit of data supports that." 

What followed was a typical Larry Krasner performance, where he used an obscure and irrelevant comparison, along with a dash of his own home-cooked crime stats, to cover up his lousy record on prosecuting crime.

After giving himself another complete pass on bearing any responsibility for the record amount of bloodshed in the city, Krasner went off on a tangent about Mesa, Az, population 508,418. The Philly D.A. claimed Mesa has the highest recent increase in the level of homicides in America, as well as a traditional Republican prosecutor. 

"Look at Mesa," Krasner preached. "If we actually look at what's going on across the United States," he said, you'll find that "there's no correlation whatsoever between whether a jurisdiction has a progressive prosecutor or a traditional one, and the levels of homicides they're experiencing."

Here, Krasner was talking up Mesa, a small city in Arizona that over a 10-year period from 2010 to 2019 vacillated between 11 and 23 annual murders. 

The D.A. was trying to use Mesa to make an anecdotal, apples-to-oranges comparison with Philadelphia, a city of 1.58 million. When Krasner first got elected D.A. in 2017, Philadelphia had 315 murders. And then, under Krasner's reign, the annual body count has escalated to a record 562 murders last year, a 78% increase.

Meanwhile, we're up to 384 murders so far this year, a 4% increase over last year's record pace.

And what's going on in Mesa? Between 2017 and 2021, while Philadelphia under Krasner saw a 78% jump in annual murders, Mesa went from 23 murders in 2017 to 31 homicides last year, according to the Mesa Police Department, a 34.7% increase in murders. 

Philly's increase in the murder rate under you, Mr. D.A., is more than double the increase in the murder rate than in Mesa.

But none of the body count is Larry Krasner's fault, he said, when asked point-blank about it. Even though the incompetent and inexperienced prosecutors in Krasner office routinely hand out lenient sentences, under Krasner's orders, as well as outright passes, to armed and dangerous felons, so they can go out and victimize more people.

Using small cities as anecdotal evidence to play down the historic murder levels in Philadelphia is an old trick of Krasner's. During his reelection campaign, he frequently cited a fatally flawed study financed by one of his billionaire donors. 

The study allegedly showed that Philadelphia, with a 27% increase in homicides in 2020, ranked just 23rd on a list of 34 cities that compared annual increases in municipal murder rates.

But the study that compared the rise in municipal murder rates across the country, which was topped by four small cities, got Philadelphia's increase wrong.

It was a 40% increase in murders, not 27%. 

The study also got the percentages wrong regarding the increase in municipal murder rates for 30 of the 34 surveyed cities. But that didn't stop Krasner and his friends in the progressive media from using the fatally flawed study to prop up Krasner's pathetic record on crimefighting.

After our initial exchange today, Krasner then looked to the other side of the room, searching for another reporter to call on, when I yelled, "Follow up question, Mr. Krasner?"

I then talked about how the incompetent and inexperienced prosecutors in Krasner's office are prosecuting nearly 50% less criminal cases than the prosecutors who worked for former D.A. Seth Williams. 

Keep in mind, each D.A. had approximately 300 lawyers on staff. 

And then I mentioned that the conviction rate of 50.7% under former D.A. Williams in 2014 had fallen all the way down to 22.6% last year under D.A. Krasner. 

"Your office is doing 50 percent less criminal prosecutions," I told Krasner. Meanwhile, with half the caseload, the conviction rate had fallen from 50.7% to 22.6%.

"Would that point to the fact you're just not getting the job done, Mr,. Krasner?"

While I asked that question, Krasner was adjusting his glasses again and licking his lips. 

"Well, uh first of all, I don't accept your numbers," Krasner said, before adding, "I'm not sure you know how to read those numbers." 

I tried to explain that I read them off the D.A.'s Public Data Dashboard, but Krasner started yelling at me over the microphone so that nobody would hear my explanation.

"Excuse me, let me finish," he said loudly. "Let me finish. "Excuse me, let me finish."

Krasner then blamed the police for deciding to not make arrests on certain crimes during the pandemic. 

"I do not propose to tell them what to do," he said about the cops, before rolling out a home-brewed crime stat. 

"Our conviction rate when it comes to the trial level for homicide cases is about 90%," he said.

"That's a misleading stat," I replied, but Krasner was giving a loud speech at the mike with the sole intention once again of drowning me out.

In restricting the conviction rate to "homicide cases at the trial level since January 2021," Krasner chose to ignore a total of 48 homicide cases in 2021 and 2022 that were either voluntarily withdrawn by the D.A.'s office or dismissed by a judge for lack of evidence, typically at a preliminary hearing.

Why did the D.A. not want to include those 48 homicide cases that had been either withdrawn by the D.A.'s office or dismissed by judges? To lower the number of homicide cases in his sample, so he could inflate his won-lost record at homicide trials.

The real numbers are posted on the D.A.'s own Public Data dashboard. And when you factor the withdrawn or dismissed homicide cases into the conviction rates, here's what you get.

In 2014, under former D.A. Seth Williams, the D.A.'s office had a conviction rate on homicide cases at trial of 87.2%.

Since Jan. 1, 2021, the D.A.'s office under Krasner has a conviction rate on homicide cases at trial of 72.6%. That's simply not "about 90%", as Krasner had claimed. 

But up at the podium, Krasner was giving another speech.

He accused me of equating the conviction rate on "turnstile jumping" with the conviction rate on homicides, and he added that I was "the only one in the room who believes that."

"You left out 48 cases," I told Krasner, but he was already on to the next reporter.

 "Excuse me, sir, your turn is over," he said.

Today's press conference was called so that Krasner, Outlaw and Kenney could cry crocodile tears over one of the latest victims of gun violence. Tiffany Fletcher, 41, a mother of three, came to work as a pool maintenance employee this summer at the Mill Creek Recreation Center and agreed to stay on to work with neighborhood kids. 

Around 1 p.m. Friday, Fletcher was caught in a shoot-out outside the rec center between armed and dangerous teenagers. She was killed by a stray bullet. A 14 year-old has been charged with murder, Krasner announced at his press conference today.

Krasner, of course, will tell you that his policies have nothing to do with the latest round of gun violence that saw 35 people shot over the weekend, nine of whom died as our latest murder victims. 

Would it surprise you to learn that on July 17th, the 14 year-old suspect who was charged with murder in the rec center case was previously arrested for a violent robbery and attempted carjacking? And that when the case went to court, a judge let the suspect go free?

"I don't know how much of a fight the D.A. put up over that one," a police source said.

But out of the spotlight of the TV cameras, Krasner's brief attempt at transparency with Big Trial was over for the day.

Neither Krasner nor a spokesperson for the D.A.'s office bothered to respond to a request for comment.

13 comments

  1. Was the robbery and attempted carjacking case dismissed by a judge, or was the case held for trial and the 14 year old boy released on bail pending the trial? And who was the judge?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good questions. The names of these judge need to be blasted over social media.

      Delete
  2. Any video of the conference? How long before larry starts taking his whataboutism to the next level, maybe he could point out next how the murder rate in honduras is greater than that in Philadelphia, or say something about how "at least cruise missles and artillery shells aren't exploding here in philly like they are in the ukraine!"

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    Replies
    1. RC here. In the fourth paragraph in the story there's a link to the DA's Facebook page. We spar in the last 5 minutes of a 55-minute video.

      Delete
  3. And a police officer is going on trial today for a December shooting. Assume Krasner is taking the case, let's beat him at his sordid game!

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  4. Kenney=deer in headlights.
    Outlaw=hair with highlights.
    Why were they there?
    Shouldn't Kenney be giving local Trump -like developers abatement and corporate welfare???
    Outlaw, well, ummm I got nothing.

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  5. Great job Ralph !

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  6. I can't believe that this creep isn't charging the 14 year old as an adult for killing the pool attendant. I'm sure this punk will be back on the street in no time so that he can kill again. I wonder who his proud parents are.

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  7. this site used to be great. I hate Krasner just as much as anyone but can you please write about something else.... for once!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RC here. Sorry, but since I'm the only reporter in town who tries to hold this clown accountable, the hits are gonna just keep coming.

      I have written about other topics of late, such as the racially rabid CEO at the Inky, PC Outlaw on the political trail, and some of my prior adventures on the religion beat.

      But I'm going to continue to impeach Larry before the state Legislature gets around to it. Have you noticed people are getting shot, carjacked and murdered in record numbers? Is there a more important story in town?

      And is anyone else doing it?

      Delete
  8. I wouldn't worry too much about the comment asking you to write about something other than the arrogant, abrasive and at times abusive DA Larry Krasner. The author is probably one of the few supporters from within his office.
    Keep up the great work Ralph!

    The city needs you!

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  9. Thanks Ralph at least you are holding him accountable. Where is the outrage in the city and also us citizens holding him and these judges accountable? And where is the reform that will help these kids get the help they need in jail and keep repeat and serious offenders off our streets?

    ReplyDelete

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