In his first media appearance since a sharply divided state House voted 107 to 85 on Nov. 16 to send articles of impeachment against him to the state Senate for a trial, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner joined community leaders in calling House Republicans’ efforts to remove him from office a move to “silence” Philadelphia voters.
“Never in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has there ever been an effort to impeach or remove from office someone for their policies, someone for their ideas,” Krasner said at the Monday press conference held at Philadelphia City Hall.
Krasner was joined by local politicians and community leaders who shared similar messages about the impeachment process, criticizing Harrisburg lawmakers who say they want to make the city safer but who don’t take the legislative action needed to effect change, including Philadelphia City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, who said state House legislators should listen to what local officials are calling for if they want to make Philadelphia safer.
“I have spent my entire three years in City Council pushing the city to have a more urgent local response, fighting for record investments in prevention and intervention, and trying to make sure that gun violence is at the top of the agenda for every single city agency,” Gauthier said Monday. “Scare tactics and fearmongering don’t make us safer and disregarding the votes of intelligent, hardworking Philadelphians doesn’t make us safer.”
Community leaders shared a similar message, stating that investments in communities and schools are how House lawmakers can prove they care about Philadelphians.
Rev. Robert Collier, president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia, compared the impeachment process to an episode of “Law and Order” and said that House Republicans are wasting their time.
“GOP lawmakers could better utilize their term by drafting and passing common-sense gun laws and a ban on assault weapons,” Collier said. “If they want to do something positive, do what they were elected to do. It is not their job to monitor Philadelphia and it is not their job to tell us who to vote for.”
State Rep. Rick Krajewski, a Philadelphia Democrat, argued the impeachment’s allegations were more of an indictment of the city’s police department than Krasner and his progressive policies.
Krajewski noted that many of the crime victims and families who shared their stories with the chamber’s Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order – which tasked itself with investigating crime in Philadelphia during Krasner’s tenure – expressed concerns about law enforcement’s handling of their individual cases, not just prosecutorial concerns related to the district attorney’s office.
House Republicans have called the impeachment process a path not taken lightly, but one necessary to stand up for those who “long for safety and freedom from fear.”
“Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has been impeached by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. No press conference can change that,” Jason Gottesman, a spokesman for House Republicans, said in a statement.
The impeachment process now goes to the state Senate, where a trial would occur and a two-thirds vote would be needed to remove Krasner from office. House lawmakers named the impeachment managers last week, including state Reps. Craig Williams, Tim Bonner and Jared Solomon. Lawmakers have hinted at the possibility of adding session days to this year’s calendar to hold the trial before the end of the year, but no dates have been set.