Larry Krasner apologizes for flippant Philly crime comments
The District Attorney paid for his insensitive words towards the city’s Black and Brown residents by facing a rash of criticism.
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Despite the more than 500 people murdered so far this year, last week, Philadelphia’s District Attorney pushed back against the notion that violence is on the rise, saying that the city doesn’t have a “crisis of lawlessness.”
During an exchange with reporters at his weekly gun crime update on Monday, Dec. 6, Larry Krasner stated that overall violent crime in the city has decreased about 3% from last year.
“As we report on a true crisis when it comes to gun violence in the United States, or also in Philadelphia, I think it’s important that we don’t let this become mushy and bleed that there is a big spike in crime. There isn’t. There is not a big spike in crime — that is not true. There is also not a big spike in violent crime, either,” Krasner said.
Recent police statistics do show that violent crimes that do not involve guns, such as rape and aggravated assaults, have gone down from this time last year, but homicides are up nearly 13% and robberies involving guns are up close to 25%.
These comments drew criticism from some community leaders, as well as former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who said that Krasner’s words were insensitive to the mainly Black and Latino residents that have been murdered this year.
“I’d like to ask Krasner: How many more Black and brown people, and others, would have to be gunned down in our streets daily to meet your definition of a “crisis”?,” Nutter wrote in an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Mayor Nutter: “I have to wonder what kind of messed up world of white wokeness Krasner is living in to have so little regard for human lives lost, many of them Black and brown, while he advances his own national profile as a progressive district attorney.”https://t.co/ML3c9wkSP6— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) December 8, 2021
Krasner apologized for his comments on Monday, Dec. 14, admitting that he chose the wrong words to get his point across, and in doing so, failed to acknowledge the “pain and suffering that disproportionately affects people of color and poor people,” he said.
"This is on me. I accept responsibility for that, I own that, because I failed in not acknowledging that pain and suffering.” https://t.co/eCfqQTjXb6— The Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting (@pcgvr) December 14, 2021
“I did not acknowledge the pain and the hurt that people feel in the city of Philadelphia,” he said at Love Zion Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.
Councilmember Jamie Gauthier was among those who stood with Krasner on Monday and accepted his apology due to his track record as the city’s district attorney.
“I think the true mark of a person is not just what they say, but what they do. And I believe in our district attorney’s action. As my community has suffered greatly over the past few years due to a dramatic spike in gun violence, he has been right there with us helping people to get justice,” Gauthier said.
Former State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell also stood by Krasner. Johnson-Harrell previously worked in the victim/witnesses services unit under Krasner, lost two sons to gun violence and is the founder of the CHARLES Foundation, which provides services to victims of violence.
She acknowledged Krasner’s mistake, but celebrated his work as the city’s top prosecutor.
“But we need not forget the fact that DA Krasner has been on the front lines, standing with victims, standing with Black and brown victims to ensure that we are doing what’s necessary to win, support people through one of the most difficult situations in their life, and to try and make sure that it does not happen to the next family,” Johnson-Harrell said.
HAPPENING NOW: @DA_LarryKrasner apologizes for ‘chosing the wrong words’ when speaking about the pain gun violences causes families impacted while discussing the 528 homicides YTD for 2021 along with a surge in carjackings and armed robberies. @CBSPhilly #Philadelphia pic.twitter.com/tlrBWc51wm— Alicia Roberts (@ARobertsCBS) December 13, 2021
When asked if Philadelphia was a safe city, Kranser did not comment either way.
“We have to be specific. We have to be accurate. We have to be truthful. We are seeing a real problem this year with gunpoint robberies, which is a form of gun violence,” he said. “We are seeing a terrible spike in gun violence and a terrible crisis in gun violence. All of that is true.”