PHILADELPHIA (CN) – President Donald Trump’s top federal prosecutor in Philadelphia opened a press conference Thursday on the shooting that wounded six police officers by laying blame for the carnage at the feet of city’s Democratic district attorney.
“There is a new culture of disrespect for law enforcement in this city that is promoted and championed by District Attorney Larry Krasner – and I am fed up with it,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain, who has presided over Pennsylvania’s Eastern District since March 2018.
Philadelphia, the district’s nucleus, is the Democratic stronghold in a state Trump won by less than a percentage point. After the city’s last prosecutor pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in 2017, Krasner beat out a seven-way Democratic primary for the district attorney job, campaigning on the promise of sentencing reform and an end to mass incarceration.
McSwain appeared outside the federal courthouse today meanwhile to address the 7 1/2-hour police standoff that gripped North Philadelphia’s Tioga neighborhood overnight in a drug bust gone awry.
“We’ve now endured over a year and a half of the worst kinds of slander against law enforcement – the DA routinely calls police and prosecutors corrupt and racist, even ‘war criminals’ that he compares to Nazis,” McSwain said. “This vile rhetoric puts our police in danger. It disgraces the Office of the District Attorney. And it harms the good people in the city of Philadelphia and rewards the wicked.”
Krasner took the prosecutor’s swipe in stride Thursday, noting in a statement that McSwain’s “is not a political elected office.”
“I’m surprised that William McSwain would seek to detract from the great collaborative work of law enforcement last night — for which bipartisan leaders in City Hall just minutes ago had nothing but praise, and rightly so — for his own political agenda and personal gain,” Krasner added.
On Wednesday, shots broke out at about 4:30 p.m. as narcotics officers attempted to serve a warrant at the 3700 block of North 15th Street. All six police officers shot in the standoff were released from hospitals after getting treatment Wednesday night for nonserious injuries.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross attempted to negotiate an end to the standoff, but officers eventually fired tear gas to apprehend the suspect, identified this morning as Maurice Hill.
About an hour before McSwain released his statement, Krasner tweeted support for the police.
“To call the outcome of yesterday’s standoff a miracle is to not adequately recognize the incredible work of @PhillyPolice led by @PPDCommish Ross. All officers alive & released to their families. A dangerous individual in custody, certain to face justice.”
Krasner followed that tweet with another: “How @PhillyPolice handled this unprecedented, incredibly volatile situation was frankly brilliant. We owe it to them to do everything in our lane to make them safer. Gun violence prevention — through tougher regulations & braver politicians — is in ALL of our lanes.”