Republicans in the Pennsylvania House opened impeachment proceedings against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Monday.
Krasner is facing an impeachment effort from members of the state legislature who argue he has created an environment of “unchecked” crime by refusing to prosecute lawbreakers. Republican Reps. Josh Kail, Torren Ecker andTim O’Neal introduced articles of impeachment Monday.
“We fully anticipate this to be a bipartisan effort, we fully anticipate to gather quite a bit of support amongst this effort because quite honestly the dereliction of duty and the failure of Larry Krasner is well known across the commonwealth,” Kail said in a statement.
“We did not arrive at this decision lightly or easily. In fact, we are taking this action after we have taken significant steps to pass legislation that addresses violent crime in Philadelphia by ensuring our current laws are enforced,” Kail added. “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.”
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Krasner responded to the impeachment attempt during a Monday press conference, arguing it is unconstitutional.
“What they are doing in terms of impeachment, clearly without a legal basis, it is clearly unconstitutional. And that will all come out as this proceeds, if it proceeds at all,” he said.
“They have no legal basis whatsoever, even if they do not like what the Philadelphia district attorney is doing in terms of how shall I put it, they are having fewer people from Philly in their jails,” he continued. “Oh, my. You don’t suppose there’s an economic incentive there to have more people from Philly in their jails, even if they do not like it? That is not called impeachment. We have elections in the United States. We count all the votes. We don’t lie about whether our count in Philadelphia spoken about what administration they want making decisions on these cases”
Krasner has faced heavy criticism for his criminal justice policies as the city of Philadelphia struggles under record-setting homicides.
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Retired police officer Nick Gerace warned Americans last week to stay away from the city. The city suffered ten shootings in the first weekend of June alone.
“Do not come to Philadelphia,” Gerace said on “Fox & Friends First.” “You’re not safe.”
Krasner himself has denied the ongoing surge in violent crime. He has also repeatedly blamed shootings on the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness, we don’t have a crisis of crime, we don’t have a crisis of violence,” he told reporters in December. “It’s important that we don’t let this become mushy and bleed into the notion that there is some kind of big spike in crime. There isn’t. There is not a big spike in crime. … There is not a big spike in violent crime. Neither one of these things is true.”
The Articles of Impeachment must first be approved in a House committee and then again approved by a simple majority in the full House before being sent to the state Senate. A Senate trial would then determine whether Krasner should be removed from office, which would require a two-thirds majority.