Philadelphia District Attorney

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner dismissed the move to impeach him as “clearly unconstitutional.”

— AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Pennsylvania House Republicans have opened disingenuous impeachment proceedings against progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, accusing him of a “willful refusal” to tackle “unchecked violent crime.”

Three Pennsylvania State House representatives announced the move Monday while also unveiling a website, StopKrasner.com, for crime victims to detail their case against Krasner.

Three House Republican members from Western Pennsylvania — Reps. Josh Kail, Torren Ecker and Tim O’Neal — say they have been drafting articles of impeachment involving Philadelphia’s DA since the South Street mass shooting, where three people were killed and 11 were injured.

“We recognize it is an extraordinary measure — but the actions that the DA has taken are extraordinary,” said Kail.

“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,” he said.

“Lives have been lost, property has been destroyed, and families have been crushed. Enough is enough,” he said.

Krasner is being targeted as a likely subject for removal from office after San Franciscans voted overwhelmingly to remove their progressive district attorney, Chesa Boudin.

The Republican lawmakers calling for the impeachment of Philly’s DA are not from Philadelphia, not even its suburbs, but they insist they know what’s right for Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers did not show a specific incident resulting from Krasner’s policies or any evidence that the DA is not enforcing laws.

Krasner defended his office record on combating crime.

“How do you respond to the criticism? Well, here’s a couple facts. We are all obviously very concerned about public safety and we should be, but the question is do you want to fix it or do you want to go back in time to everything that got us here?” Krasner said.

Krasner dismissed the move as “clearly unconstitutional.”

“They have no legal basis whatsoever,” he said at a press conference Monday.

While we are in support of Krasner’s criminal justice reforms, we would like the DA to become more aggressive in prosecuting repeat violent criminals, but outside agitators should stop the grandstanding and stay out of Philadelphia politics. Philadelphia voters have twice elected Krasner for district attorney. The decision on whether he stays or goes should be left to Philadelphia voters and not lawmakers from outside the city.

Instead of passing tougher gun laws or supporting the right of Philadelphians to pass gun control legislation, Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers are taking a politically motivated cheap shot.

We agree with Rep. Joanna McClinton and Rep. Stephen McKinsey on Republican efforts to impeach Krasner.

McClinton said: “For the first time in decades, we have an opportunity to debate and pass sensible gun safety measures that are popular with Pennsylvanians, and instead the House GOP has offered a disingenuous ‘plan’ to distract from their own refusal to lead.”

Rep. Stephen Kinsey says that “instead of holding policy hearings and hearing directly from the people most impacted or working with city leaders as well as leaders of the PA Philly delegation to address gun violence, they choose to bring forth legislation to impeach DA Larry Krasner.”

While we strongly reject state Republican lawmakers’ efforts to impeach him, Krasner, who is now in his second term as DA, needs to stop placing all the blame on lawmakers in Harrisburg and Washington and take more responsibility for reducing violent crime.

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