Pennsylvania state House Republicans are moving to impeach Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner for his soft-on-crime policies, which they say have fueled the city's record levels of violent crime.
Republican representatives, led by Rep. Martina White, filed articles of impeachment against the progressive prosecutor Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. A bipartisan majority of the state House tasked the House Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order to investigate the causes of and solutions to Philadelphia's historic crime surge. State representative Torren Ecker (R.), a member of the committee, argued impeaching Krasner was a necessary step.
"From the beginning of this process, we have heard devastating stories from victims of crime, businesses who are closing because they do not feel safe, and victims who have been revictimized by a district attorney’s office unwilling to help them when they would rather help criminals," Ecker said. "That is misbehavior in office, for which [Krasner] should be impeached."
Philadelphia saw a record 562 homicides last year, and police have reported 438 in 2022 so far, causing many to criticize Krasner's handling of criminals. Just last week, a murderer whom Krasner freed from a life sentence last year returned to custody for his connection with a second murder, the Washington Free Beacon reported. In April 2021, Krasner downplayed the city's historic crime surge at a swanky fundraiser just hours after eight people were shot outside a Philadelphia train station.
"The city of Philadelphia cannot afford to wait any longer for us to take action on what we already know to be true: that Krasner is responsible for the rise in crime across our city due to his dereliction of duty to prosecute the guilty and to protect the innocent," White, whose district includes part of Philadelphia, said in a news conference Wednesday morning.
The GOP-controlled House will need a simple majority to impeach Krasner. The bill would move to the state Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans, for a possible trial. It would need a two-thirds vote to remove Krasner from office.
Krasner called the investigation a "political stunt." On Twitter, he decried the move as "devastating to democracy" and said "it shows how far toward fascism the Republican party is creeping."
"We must do something to free the people of Philadelphia from the crime and violence crisis that has destroyed lives and property and made Philadelphians prisoners of fear," said Pennsylvania House majority leader Kerry Benninghoff (R.).