Philly's Soros-Backed DA Calls NYPD Arrests of Columbia Rioters 'Stupid'

'This is Philadelphia, we don’t have to do stupid like they did at Columbia,' Larry Krasner says during visit to UPenn encampment

Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner (D.) (Getty Images)
May 2, 2024

Soros-backed Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner said it was "stupid" for the New York Police Department to arrest the rioters at Columbia University who had seized control of a university building. Krasner made the remarks Wednesday while visiting the University of Pennsylvania’s "Gaza Solidarity Encampment," where organizers have defied the administration's orders to disperse. 

"The First Amendment comes from here, this is Philadelphia, we don’t have to do stupid like they did at Columbia," Krasner told UPenn's student newspaper. "What we should be doing here is upholding our tradition of being a welcoming, inviting city, where people say things, even if other people don’t like them."

Krasner spokesman Dustin Slaughter confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that he was specifically referring to the NYPD's arrests at Columbia Tuesday night.

Krasner "has been visiting" UPenn’s encampment in a strictly fact-finding capacity only, and not in any show of support for the protesters, Slaughter said. "Should Penn Police or the Philadelphia Police Department bring evidence to our office that rises to the level of probable cause, we will file charges against that individual," the spokesman added.

Krasner was elected Philadelphia’s district attorney in 2017 with the help of millions of dollars from left-wing megadonor George Soros. Krasner won reelection in November 2021, once again with the financial backing of Soros, who funneled another $1.2 million to the effort. The far-left DA oversaw Philadelphia’s deadliest murder wave in decades in 2021 and 2022, sparking a backlash over his soft-on-crime policies. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives impeached him in November 2022, but the following January the state senate voted to squash the impeachment. 

While UPenn’s protest has remained more peaceful than others around the country that have erupted in violence, the school’s administration has indicated there have been repeated violations of university policies, including "credible reports" of harassment and intimidation and anti-Semitic vandalism of school property. Since last Friday, the school has repeatedly ordered protesters occupying the College Green to disperse, but for nearly a week they have defied these orders. The university has posted trespass notices around campus indicating the encampment violates Philadelphia City Code.

The notices were put up over the weekend, following a message from interim president Larry Jameson and university provost John Jackson indicating they had "notified the protesters of their legal and policy violations," and adding that a failure to disband the encampment "will result in sanctions."

"Initial notice of trespassing was conveyed on Friday, April 25, 2024, at 8:41 p.m. via the university wide email," the trespassing notices posted around campus stated. "Your activities are in violation of state and local laws, as well as university policy."

The signs pointed out the specific city codes being violated, which were "Philadelphia Code Titles 4 & 14." Title 4 of the Philadelphia Code states that "tents and other structures" may not be erected without first obtaining a permit in line with city building, zoning, and occupancy rules, the notice points out. Meanwhile, the notices point out that under Title 14 the locations where students have set up their encampment is "not zoned for outdoor living accommodations."

Other university encampments have seen mass arrests after violent outbreaks. The NYPD announced nearly 300 arrests took place at Columbia and the City College of New York after law enforcement intervened late Tuesday night to restore order to a campus building that had been taken over by protesters. At the University of California, Los Angeles, police donning riot gear intervened Thursday morning as well following a violent clash between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters. The sweep ended with over 100 arrests.