The Washington Times Weekly

Victims’ families call for ouster of Philadelph­ia’s DA

Say Krasner indifferen­t to plight

- BY JAMES VARNEY

Crime victims have joined the fight to oust Philadelph­ia District Attorney Larry Krasner in his re-election bid next month.

They are telling what they describe as Mr. Krasner’s indifferen­ce to their plight in a television ad campaign launched by the Protect Our Police PAC, a group of current and former law enforcemen­t officers focused on defeating Mr. Krasner, who they say has made the city less safe with his far-left criminal justice agenda.

“He cares more about the criminals than he does about the victims,” Shaki’ra Wilson-Burroughs says in one ad. Ms. Wilson-Burroughs’ brother, Sgt. Robert Wilson III, was a Philadelph­ia police officer gunned down in the line of duty in 2015.

Mr. Krasner, who this year failed to win the endorsemen­t of the Philadelph­ia Democratic Party, is one of a handful of top prosecutor­s pursuing a left-wing criminal justice agenda. They took office with campaigns bankrolled by political action committees backed by billionair­e liberal activist George Soros.

These prosecutor­s, all of whom POP PAC seeks to unseat, argue that the criminal justice system is suffused with racism and, to make amends, pledge to limit charging and sentencing of offenders.

Mr. Krasner, 60, has warned voters not to return to the “injustices of the past.”

His campaign did not respond to a request for comment about crime victims speaking out in the TV ads.

In the May 18 primary in the overwhelmi­ngly Democratic city, Mr. Krasner will face Carlos Vega, 64, who spent 35 years as an assistant district attorney in Philadelph­ia before becoming one of the dozens Mr. Krasner fired as soon as he took office.

“I know many local mothers whose sons were murdered and they are seeing their cases unravel,” said Maria Martinez, whose son, Brian Lawhon II, died after he was viciously beaten at a 7-Eleven in 2019. “Some guy gets off, it’s like deja vu. You think losing your child would be the hardest part, but dealing with Mr. Krasner has been just as bad.”

Police charged a 26-year-old White man with murder when Mr. Lawhon died from his injuries at a local hospital. But Ms. Martinez told The Washington Times that Mr. Krasner’s office worked hard to lower the charges to aggravated assault.

She recently learned from a friend that the case had been continued. She said that when she reached out to the assistant district attorney, he acknowledg­ed that was true.

“He said he was sorry he’d forgotten to notify me and, at the end, said sort of ‘oh, by the way, I’m not handling your case any more,’” Ms. Martinez said. “He gave me the name of a woman who I called and was told she was on vacation. That was three weeks ago. I haven’t heard a thing.”

Another POP PAC ad that reently debuted, titled “Dangerous Policies/Deadly Consequenc­es,” highlights how skyrocketi­ng crime in the city has most harmed the very people Mr. Krasner claims to champion.

“Black and brown communitie­s have suffered the most,” the ad says over a graphic highlighti­ng violent incident rates.

In 2020, Philadelph­ia suffered 499 homicides, the most it had seen in 30 years, and the 2,240 people shot was a record. So far in 2021, the gun violence continues unabated, with the city’s 146 homicides as of April 15 an increase of 33% from last year.

Terri O’Connor’s husband, James, was a Philadelph­ia cop killed while executing a murder warrant in 2020. When Mr. Krasner tried to visit the hospital where Mr. O’Connor had been taken after his shooting, Philadelph­ia officers barred his way and refused to let him enter.

“He never called me,” Mrs. O’Connor told The Times.

They were high school sweetheart­s whose eldest son, James O’Connor V, is now a Philadelph­ia police officer.

The Justice Department took over her husband’s case, which Mrs. O’Connor described as an enormous improvemen­t. But in her opinion, there never should have been a case because the four suspects in the killing had at one time all been facing charges, some of them murder, but been released because of Mr. Krasner‘s bail policies, according to former U.S. Attorney William McSwain and other critics of Mr. Krasner’s tenure.

“If Krasner doesn’t let them out, my husband would still be alive,” she said.

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