John Toomey, flanked by other relatives of slain Philadelphians as well as state lawmakers at the Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg on Tuesday, tearfully discussed the fate that befell his 15-year-old son Sean. Many who gathered near him showed similar anguish as they listened.
Toomey and dozens of his fellow bereaved Philadelphians convened at the legislative building’s front lobby to condemn the performance of District Attorney Larry Krasner (D) since he became the city’s top prosecutor in 2018.
In March, Sean Toomey fled an attempted carjacking outside his family’s house and was shot dead. No arrests pertaining to the murder have been made.
“It’s all about culpability,” the elder Toomey said, holding up a picture of Sean. “We owe a duty to raise our kids the best we can. That’s it; that’s the best we can do. And then we demand something from government. Someone who commits terrible acts like this and the ones [to the relatives of those] behind me should be in prison. The DA’s culpable. It’s not his responsibility to act as a defense attorney for those who are in jail; they already get a defense attorney; that’s already taken care of.”
His recommendation to Keystone State legislators was candid: “I say impeach this son of a b****!” Those behind him who knew his pain applauded.
Earlier this month, State Representatives Josh Kail (R-Monaca), Torren Ecker (R-Abbottstown) and Tim O’Neal (R-Washington) – all present at Tuesday’s event – introduced a measure to do just that. They allege that Krasner has displayed a “willful refusal to enforce Pennsylvania’s criminal laws” in the City of Brotherly Love.
In his initial campaign for district attorney, Krasner’s promise of greater leniency famously won him the financial support of left-wing billionaire George Soros. After taking office, Krasner fired 31 experienced assistant district attorneys, largely opposed cash bail, and made the supervision of offenders undergoing parole or probation less stringent.
Representatives backing impeachment argue that actions like those have played a major role in skyrocketing violent crime in Philadelphia: About 200 gun-related homicides have taken place in Philadelphia already in 2022. Last year, 562 murders occurred in the city in total, nearly double as occurred per year a decade earlier.
“As elected officials, it is our job to step in when other elected officials don’t do their job,” State Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) said in support of impeachment. “The lawlessness that has taken hold in our streets is unacceptable and it is so disheartening that we have so many victims who will never receive justice because the scales have been tipped in favor of the criminals.”
Krasner spokesperson Jane Roh dismissed the Harrisburg demonstration, deflecting blame for city violence to the Republican state legislative majority, which largely opposes new gun control. She particularly bemoaned a House Judiciary Committee vote that day against a measure to increase the age at which a Pennsylvania resident may own a semiautomatic firearm.
“Philadelphia voters overwhelmingly re-elected DA Krasner in 2021,” Roh told The Pennsylvania Daily Star via email. “We will not dignify the exploitation of people who have suffered horrific personal losses, nor will we stand for the continued failure of GOP lawmakers to pass legislation that could save lives immediately – including today’s gutting of a bill that would raise the age for owning automatic weapons to 21.”
Impeaching a Pennsylvania official requires a majority vote in the state’s House of Representatives and a two-thirds supermajority in the State Senate. The officials spearheading the effort are encouraging those who have experienced Philadelphia’s crime problem firsthand to share their stories via a new website: stopkrasner.com.
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