- Previously on "Philly D.A."...
- A lot of your office is public perception, and when people are upset, they don't pause for the metrics.
- There are people who don't want to see him change anything.
- What do you think he's trying to accomplish?
- Violence has surged in the city with shooting after shooting.
- This problem is beyond just the D.A.
- But if they're not on the street, they can't shoot anybody.
- Now you got a good cop who becomes disgruntled, it's the community who's gonna suffer.
- Just becomes a lawless city.
[The Stylistics' "Is There Something On Your Mind"] ♪ ♪ [waves crashing] [airplane engine droning] [seagulls calling] [indistinct chatter] ♪ ♪ - ♪ Is there something on your mind ♪ ♪ That you want to say to me?
♪ ♪ Are you trying to say goodbye?
♪ ♪ You don't have to hide ♪ ♪ Don't keep me locked up inside ♪ [airplane engine droning] ♪ ♪ ♪ Is there something on your mind?
♪ ♪ ♪ [horns honking] [tense music] ♪ ♪ - We need to make it clear at the beginning that this is an investigation that was begun under this administration.
This is not some holdover thing.
- Do you think the story is that if we're gonna do something in traditional law enforcement terms, let's actually get an organization.
Let's stop locking up, like, addicts.
- That's the traditional chop off, you know, one suction cup on the tentacle and then it grows back in a minute type-stuff as opposed to going for the whole octopus.
[taps pen] - Did you know that octopuses are actually predators and they eat meat?
- They have a break that they break.
- [imitates chomping] - Which is the only hard piece of their bodies.
That's why they're so sneaky, fluid.
- Very sneaky, very cool.
- This is the first press conference that we've done about, like, a big, proactive criminal investigation.
And if you're a traditional district attorney, this is like your bread and butter.
They send the message that the D.A.s want to send, which is that we are going tough on heroin, we are going tough on drug dealers, get 'em all.
Lock 'em up.
[pounds table] And it's like, you arrest a couple of people who work at the corner.
This press conference that we're doing today ain't that.
We arrested the very top tier of the organization from the guys in charge all the way down.
[elevator bell dings] - What about this?
If they say, "You just love criminals..." - Correct.
- I could say, "You're right, I'm crimey."
- [chuckling] - Just, "You're right."
- I can squeeze in.
- Come in.
- This was all a big accident.
I don't know how it happened.
- Yeah I just--I'm confused.
I thought we were giving these guys the key to the city.
[chuckles] Don't actually say any of that.
♪♪ The issue is that there are people who are just critical of everything that we do on principle.
It doesn't matter what it is or what we say or how we do it, they just attack it and they're gonna find something to attack about this.
They want to believe this, like, cartoon character of Larry.
Particularly the hardcore FOP people.
One thing that upsets them more than anything is when we point out that we are, in fact, still prosecuting serious charges.
♪ ♪ - Good morning.
Today, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is announcing the results of a prolonged investigation into major narcotics traffickers in the Kensington section of the city.
Traditional drug enforcement should not focus on people at the bottom of the pyramid whose actions are basically driven by addiction.
[camera shutter clicks] We should not be focusing on the tip of one tentacle; we should be going for the entire octopus.
These are drug dealers who sold $5 million worth of revenues over the course of a year.
We need to think broadly about solutions that will get at the terrible impact that this type of addiction are causing.
And with that, I would like to invite Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez.
- Good afternoon.
For the residents of Kensington that I represent, I can tell you on their behalf, thank you.
This is a great first step in demonstrating to folks that, on behalf of the D.A.
's office and law enforcement, we're up to the task.
[camera shutters clicking] [speaking Spanish] Larry.
Larry and I, we have known each other for 30 years.
[both speaking Spanish] So you've met our new D.A.?
- How are you?
- I really believe that when people spend one-on-one time with Larry, they get a different understanding of who he is.
Larry cares, but he doesn't come off as the teddy bear kind of person.
♪ ♪ The narrative around him being for criminals, versus victims, is still huge.
- We bring the cases.
That's just the reality.
We don't bring weed possession.
- Okay, good.
- We don't bring sex work.
But when it comes to anything serious, we bring it.
Even when it comes to non-serious stuff.
We bring all the retail theft cases.
"Oh, Krasner's not busting nobody.
We bring 'em in."
No, you don't.
- They always say it was you, 'cause you're not gonna do nothing with it.
- I mean, they're saying what they want to say.
- I know.
- But-- - They're winning that war, though.
- Well... - They're winning the perception war; facts.
- Well, they're about to lose it when I walk in with the facts and bang 'em over the head.
- For those people who care about facts.
Electing people is one thing.
Helping them become successful is another thing.
His work is generational work and people are not going to see the results for another ten years, and they want the here and now.
I have no doubt that not only this is the right direction, that it's a necessary direction.
We can't keep doing what we did in the past, 'cause it didn't work.
[indistinct chatter] ♪ ♪ In the '80s, when I was growing up in Kensington, it was a crack epidemic.
The only answer was arrests and police presence.
♪ ♪ When I'm advocating for Kensington, I'm saying move the resources that we so easily spent on mass incarceration and redirect that to an investment in programs, which is what would make our streets safer.
There's an issue of resources, right?
And a very legitimate issue of resources.
[indistinct radio chatter] - All right, all right.
Well, thanks for coming.
So the importance of this beat here is that you have a school right there.
That was actually my school when I was a kid.
I was born and raised in the Fairhill part of North Philly.
My parents still live in the district, so when I became an officer, I wanted to come here.
Unfortunately, we still lead the city in homicides.
Shootings, we're probably right there.
So if somebody tries to tell you something, don't brush 'em off.
Get in the habit of looking down.
People change their shirts.
They can't change their sneakers fast.
Somebody can rip their shirt off and now he's got an undershirt on.
Just don't go over the air and say "wifebeater."
It's very disrespectful.
It's inconsiderate, you know.
But I digress.
Let's walk this way.
[horn honks] - We're happy to see you guys.
- We're happy to be here.
- You're needed in this area.
- I've been here for a long time.
I've never seen this.
And the last two years have gotten worse, so I hope you guys make it better.
[soft ambient music] ♪ ♪ With the opioid problem right in Kensington, you see a lot of people living on the street and using drugs just out in the open.
We've had assaults.
We've had females get raped.
Who wants to come out their house to see needles?
Children have to walk through this to go to school.
So this is a norm, and it shouldn't be.
♪ ♪ Somebody asked me, "How you gauge success?"
I said, "There's nothing to quantify our success on paper."
[engine revving] ♪ ♪ 'Cause numbers can be played with.
Our success comes individually.
[upbeat Latin music playing] [speaking Spanish] I know there's a push to get less people in prison.
I've had family members who have gone to prison and have come out and they've changed their lives.
- There you go, boy.
- You're not trying to lock somebody up forever.
What you want to do is for them to change what led them to get arrested to begin with.
Thank you for taking this profession.
You know, we need new officers, young officers, and I'm happy that you guys are here in the two-five.
I'll see you guys out there, all right?
all: Thank you, sir.
- All right.
[upbeat pop music playing] ♪ ♪ - Welcome, everybody, to the 25th Police District block party.
♪ ♪ - One, two, three!
- I gotta go.
I got called in.
- What do you mean?
You just got here.
- I know.
I got called in to a meeting with the council president.
- All right.
- All right.
- Let me know if you need anything.
- All right.
- I never thought that these captains would become personal friends of mine, right?
And when you spend so much time with them, and when you're frustrated with them, and when you see what they're doing and they see what you're doing, and it just changes your whole perspective.
- [whining] - [squeals] ♪ ♪ - So is this my report card?
Am I getting a report card?
- No, I wanted you to debrief with me.
And then I'll give you some feedback, positive, and then some of the things that we need to work on.
I actually want a report card.
I'm kidding with you, but I do.
- I know.
So, I mean, essentially, moving forward, we really have to figure out putting your office in a relationship with police and captains, commanding officers and-- - I don't know if it's the best thing to do, but if you think it is, I'm more than happy to do it.
- Well, here's what I would say.
Because, you know, the narrative from the FOP and others, is that you're anti-cop... - Mm-hmm.
- Well, I just came from the 25th Police District block party that we helped put together.
It's a community event, and you should be there.
I think that's the only way you're gonna counter this.
You're not gonna change the leadership, but rank-and-file captains need to feel comfortable with you.
- And there's a value to that, right?
- All right.
- But you have to see that there's a value to it.
I mean, if you're gonna-- - There's definitely a value in having good relationships with police.
There's definitely a value in seeing what message is being put out when you're not there.
I mean, there's definitely value in that.
- If you're not there, it's their message, not yours.
[indistinct chatter] And you know, need to get you, this summer, on a couple captain ride-alongs.
[piano playing] - If they would like to see that I know how to get into a police car, we can do that.
- You have to get in the police car.
You have to hear their perspective.
It'll go a long way.
I know this is stuff you-- - No, it's not that I don't want to do it, but it's useful to do it with people who aren't 100% deliberate archenemies.
I mean, we have had-- I have had-- - They are not.
You'd be surprised.
And that's why I think once people in the rank-and-files work with you, I think we can really counter some of that.
[soft dramatic music] - Understood.
♪ ♪ - Criminal justice policies changed dramatically in the city of Philadelphia after new D.A.
Larry Krasner took office.
He was backed by George Soros and Krasner massively scaled back law enforcement in the city.
We spoke recently with the president of Philadelphia's Fraternal Order of Police, John McNesby, and here's what he told us.
- There's been 6,500 less cases brought before the Criminal Justice Center here.
Crime is up.
4,000 felons are on the streets running the city of Philadelphia.
We have officers out there arresting people on a daily basis and they're walking out the back of police stations.
- Philadelphia's one of the most incarcerated places on the planet... on the planet.
It's just unbelievable that they have taken what is not normal and normalized it to such an extent that anything that is done to try to restore balance or bring us back into national or international standards is seen as some left-wing agenda to make people less safe when people weren't safe for the last 30 years.
- On top of that, he's running his own show here, and it's like a carnival act.
- The enemies of civilization, for sure.
- [laughs] - Thanks very much for telling us what's going on in Philadelphia.
I appreciate it.
Good to see you.
- "The enemies of civilization."
Who is he describing?
Wait, are we the enemies of discrimin--of civilization?
Oh, I would strongly disagree with that.
[soft music] ♪ ♪ Come on in.
We're doing ARD reviews.
- So defendant sold $10 worth of marijuana to an undercover officer.
102 grams of marijuana and $650 were recovered from the defendant's car.
No prior convictions, no prior diversion.
- Anything else in the file that we should think about?
- He's been working as a home health aide for several years, takes care of his mother, is currently battling stage IV lung cancer.
He's also expecting a child in the coming months.
I would say yes.
- I say yes.
- It involves a discharged firearm, which definitely gave me pause.
So this guy was riding a dirt bike, was approached by a group of men who he believed were intending to forcibly rob him of his dirt bike.
He did have a valid license to carry.
He fired two warning shots into the air.
The defendant is a military veteran.
He was deployed to Afghanistan twice.
You know, it's just the discharged firearm.
You know, I'm not sure what to do with these cases.
- We're trying to calculate a risk that we have no way of really knowing, for sure.
- [sighs] You at first think that discharging a firearm would automatically disqualify, but the primary purpose of ARD is to give someone the benefit of avoiding a conviction.
From a harm reduction perspective, every conviction you avoid is a good thing.
I mean... - They really are.
- The risk you were talking about, my job is to protect y'all from that risk so that you make decisions that you think is seeking justice without worrying about all the other ways in which it can be interpreted.
♪ ♪ - The D.A., he's writing memos about not prosecuting criminals.
♪ ♪ Not one cop is gonna tell you that he's on our team.
♪ ♪ - As far as the community, a lot of times it's just us telling them, "Listen, that's out of our hands.
That's the D.A.
If the thinking is that you're more concerned with the defendant than you are the victim, the community, the police officer, then that's gonna always cause friction.
We always thought the D.A.
was on our side.
[siren wailing] [indistinct conversation] [siren wailing] ♪ ♪ If there isn't the opportunity to press charges after we lock people up, so be it.
But you know, we have our bosses that are telling us to go out there and still do our job.
We're told to do it... [siren whoops] And we're gonna do it.
[overlapping chatter] - He's dead?
- 24 Town Four.
Do you have medics en route?
♪ ♪ [birds chirping] - I was at this work meeting last week, and they said, "How's your relationship with the police?"
And I was like, "It's new."
- [laughing] - "And with every new relationship, "you gotta figure out are you the kind of person "that squeeze the toothpaste from the middle, or are you the person that squeeze it from the end?"
I don't understand why you would squeeze from the middle, 'cause the toothpaste go every direction.
- I prefer to squeeze from the bottom, but I ain't gonna tell you not to squeeze from the middle, 'cause I really care about our relationship.
[laughter] [laughter] - Yes.
- Here's the thing.
What are the police doing still arresting people?
They know every single time a simple possession come across, we gonna decline it.
And if they arrest them, we not gonna prosecute.
So it's like, "Find something else to do, man."
Like, what's going on?
[laughter] - It's questioning their authority is what it is, and that's--and they don't like that.
- Malarkey is what we call it.
- And that's just too bad.
- [chuckles] - You have a lot of leverage as a district attorney, right?
At charging, because it's how the police officers can clear their case.
You get an arrest that comes through, you get the description of what the police say happened, and then you have to make an assessment of what kind of a case is this?
One of the frustrations that I'm having right now is that where we have declined cases, police have gone to the neighborhood associations and either posted on Facebook or gone to the neighborhood meeting and said, "We would like to be able "to get these bad guys off your streets, but the D.A.
's office is declining these charges."
Three different occasions that I know of.
And that's a bigger problem than I think anybody is really understands the scope of or is ready to deal with.
[copy machine whirring] - Let me just start off by who is in attendance, which is a veritable laundry list of people from the police department.
They want to cover charging generally.
- That we shouldn't decline cases because they're all good cases.
Well, that's ridiculous.
- They're not good cases.
We should decline more.
- Because they brought crap.
The actual declination is probably 8%.
- That's about right.
- As compared to the prior declination rate, which was about 2 and a half.
- The nationwide average is, like, 15.
Meanwhile, they don't even bother to upload discovery.
They need to give us the discovery in order for us to make our charging decisions, period, because what they don't do is give us pictures, they don't give us the statements, 'cause it's too much trouble because they want to be able to process the arrests so quickly, and as a result, we have to just take their word for it, which is not our job and not what I'm doing.
Their discretion is not my discretion.
- If they're trying to show we decline more cases, the answer is, yes, and you're welcome.
Like, as a matter of law, it's 100% crystal clear it's our discretion out there.
- They don't understand that in a very deep, cultural way.
- They don't understand that.
- I mean, I don't understand why they wouldn't.
That's how the law works.
- And what they're doing is saying, "Well, we know what the D.A.
's gonna do, so we're not gonna be writing this up."
It takes the form of complaining to residents, residents then complaining to city council people.
- They're gonna talk about theft for motor vehicle and how it's a scourge on the community and that they're gonna claim we don't charge those cases.
They're gonna talk about more of the police would arrest the prostitutes if they thought we would charge, but we won't.
- Why don't you burn them at the stake?
Or we could draw and quarter, or torture, or behead.
Maybe that's the answer is that we should make sure all of our punishments are not done according to the interest of justice, it's done so that they feel motivated to do their job for the paycheck they get every week.
I mean, is that actually what they're arguing here?
Well, this is gonna be a frank exchange of ideas.
- [sighs] ♪ ♪ - Are you just patiently waiting?
♪ ♪ - So who's excited?
[laughter] ♪ ♪ - After you.
♪ ♪ - We're in here.
- This is it.
[indistinct chatter] ♪ ♪ [latch squeaks] [whirring] [indistinct chatter] [phone ringing] - We had our whole chain of command there.
We were given an opportunity to speak, um... very briefly on issues that we were seeing, you know?
And then went around the table.
And then he--he spoke.
I felt like I was at closing arguments at a trial, and even though it was a planned meeting, it still felt like an ambush.
- Essentially, the way the meeting went was that it was a whole lot of the community's very upset about dot, dot, dot, dot, dot.
In many instances, what they were upset about turns out to be not corroborated by any science.
You know, they're very upset about thefts from autos, except they aren't any higher than they were last year.
- And so we had a discussion that was, I think, mostly constructive.
- To sit there and use "science" as an excuse to tell us that our-- what we're saying doesn't match, it just didn't fly with us.
It's smoke and mirrors.
That's what it is.
And the people on the street aren't stupid.
And that's why I don't go with numbers to meetings.
You think if I look out my door every day and I see people defecating and urinating in the street and using drugs that I care about how many people you arrested for narcotics?
You didn't get that guy, 'cause I'm watching him every day in front of my house.
♪ ♪ [indistinct chatter] - The vast, vast majority of people who are using right now anywhere in the city, anywhere in the country, are not using it to feel high anymore.
They're using it not to feel sick.
But it really is an important way of thinking about what is a substance use disorder.
- They're not causing severe harm to themselves or to the community.
- They are, they are.
They are, 'cause they are-- you've also got to look at the violence in those neighborhoods.
and that's a direct result from those heroin markets between the repeat retail thefts which... - Mm-hmm.
- And then the car break-ins too.
- All the time.
- And it's the guys that you're talking about that we know they have some underlying history.
But it's 20, 30 arrests, sometimes more.
- 50 arrests is expensive.
- Time consuming.
- It's time consuming.
You have to fix windows and all this.
- And the victims, yes.
- Add up all that money, right?
It might make more sense to put these people up at the Four Seasons for the year with a full-time social worker.
You know, honestly, if someone's just stealing to sustain their addiction, you could just give them $25.
[scattered chuckles] - Yeah, that's-- - I know.
[laughter] - How are we helping them?
I mean, they're just gonna go back, and then they're an overdose victim, and... - Right.
- We're using more resources.
- Look, I know that's not a way to solve the substance abuse disorder.
That's a way to solve the retail theft.
- I always use the example.
I'm at Fourth and Lehigh.
I look over and I see one of my daughter's high school friends, and he's in the middle of a sale.
I go grab him.
Like, "What's going on?"
He breaks down.
I know he's got an issue.
I have nowhere to take him.
Just don't-- nobody can give me an answer.
- The question that is left to my unit is what do we do?
We've identified this vulnerable population.
We don't want these people to die, right?
And we're trying to be able to make... - That's-- - Kind of--I get it.
- And we're trying to make the kind of intervention that we need to make in order to do that.
But the only tool that I have at the point of arrest to actual entrance into treatment court, no matter how good we make treatment court, is incarceration.
And I feel like in order to have a meaningful intervention, we have to talk about that factor because if the answer is we're gonna just, in Philadelphia, lock everybody up for their own best interest, I'm not even saying that that's--like, this whole situation is terrifying.
♪ ♪ Everyone agrees that the system is broken, but not everyone agrees what fixed looks like.
That kind of structural change is hard and people are frustrated and scared, and the thing that they have been taught to do is call 911.
But it doesn't really fix anything.
It just kicks the can down the road.
♪ ♪ [siren whoops] ♪ ♪ - America's opioid crisis is rampant.
In Philadelphia, last year, drug overdoses killed more than 1,200 people.
The community living under the bridges in the Kensington neighborhood has been labeled the Walmart of heroin.
- One of the more contentious solutions being considered to decrease the number of lives lost to this epidemic is setting up safe injection facilities.
- A local non-profit is planning to open the country's first safe injection site in Kensington.
- Philadelphia's mayor and district attorney are both in favor of opening the safe injection site.
- Are there any questions?
- Isn't it the condoning of people taking illegal substances?
What actually happens there is no one is giving drugs to people.
The people who come in were going to use those drugs anyway, and primarily, what is going on is you're watching people who have injected their own drugs to make sure that they do not fall asleep and stop breathing.
1,200 people died last year.
We are not going to prosecute people who are trying to stop people from dying.
- When I say, "Maria said no," you say, "She has to go."
Maria said no!
all: She has to go!
- Maria said no!
all: She has to go!
- Maria Quinones Sanchez has been critical of any funding going towards overdose prevention sites.
So we are grateful that District Attorney Krasner has come out in support, and we want Maria to step up not just for our community in Kensington, but also as a leader for the rest of the districts around Philadelphia.
City Council lies!
all: Save our lives!
- City Council lies!
all: Save our lives!
- City Council lies!
all: Save our lives!
- By vowing not to prosecute, D.A.
Krasner is essentially paving the way for a safe injection site.
- Thank you.
- This summer in Kensington has been horrific.
As much as we've cleaned up tons of trash, there's still tons of trash.
As much as we've issued 500 CVNs, there's still people loitering in the street.
As much as we've done several hundred arrests, there's still people selling drugs.
♪ ♪ - I sweep needle every day.
Every seven days a week.
- About twice a week, we clean this.
The city comes out.
Who's paying for that?
- We are.
- Krasner, he's a loser.
All he wants to do is let everybody go.
- It's condoning drug dealing.
If you're gonna have a safe injection site, where are they gonna get the heroin?
From a drug dealer.
♪ ♪ - Folks that are living under these bridges, they're somebody's dad, they're somebody's sister.
Our loved ones matter.
Their lives matter.
We need to treat this like the national epidemic that it is.
- 30 years and I've never seen my neighborhood this bad!
And we're wrong for being out here to get y'all to move?
No, we're not wrong!
And we want our neighborhood back!
♪ ♪ - Not one more!
all: Not one more!
Not one more!
Not one more!
Not one more!
Not one more!
Not one more!
Not one more!
- I want to thank all of you for being here and standing up, because we all know that you cannot find your cure, you cannot find a better situation when you're addicted to drugs, if you are dead.
And these supervised injection sites, no one, no one, no one ever dies.
In 15 years in Vancouver, there has not been one death.
[cheers and applause] [soft music] - Larry wants to keep people safe.
He wants to improve the quality of life.
But when Larry takes a policy position like, "I'm for safe injection sites," the narrative in Kensington becomes, "He doesn't care about my quality of life," and that's the misunderstanding.
And now we're totally distracted with this one conversation.
- Do I believe in harm reduction services?
But this location for a safe injection site is wrong.
- My younger brother died in 2017.
If there was a safe injection site, maybe, maybe I'd have my little brother here.
This is evidence-based harm reduction.
[crowd clamoring] It is proven.
Excuse me, excuse me!
Why do you not support this?
- Everybody wants to save lives.
It needs to be a more comprehensive plan.
- If you're gonna put these sites all over the city, I suggest you put the first one up by Krasner's house.
The one who is doing it.
- We need some responses.
If folks are not being charged, if they're not being arrested, we cannot survive.
And I definitely don't want my 16-year-old walking past the corner because she's being hit on by drug dealers and I'm afraid of her getting shot.
[applause] - I think you have failed the community.
Shame on you.
Shame on you!
[applause] - We have a bunch of people in the middle stuck between what the police are saying and what Larry is saying.
I think we're blowing it at that level.
People who go to meetings are people who love the police.
You're gonna lose the narrative.
You're losing everybody.
♪ ♪ - The D.A., he needs to start coming to these meetings, because he can better answer why, you know, certain crimes are being downgraded.
We shouldn't have to defend what he's doing.
Our officers are out there making arrests, and then, you know, then people get let out.
- Yeah, I know.
I have strongly encouraged him to utilize those meetings to explain his new philosophy, because I don't think it's as much defending it as explaining.
If this is the way you're gonna operate, then you need to explain it.
People need to walk away feeling like there's a justification for it, right?
They may still disagree, but there's an explanation.
And you're right.
- I am not defending somebody else's policy.
- No one else other than the office who is promulgating new rules and regulations should be there to explain it to the community.
- And I am no longer doing that and I have expressed that to my friend D.A.
Krasner that, like we say in Spanish... [speaks Spanish] - Mm-hmm.
Stand it up.
- Stand up.
♪♪ - Good afternoon.
For about the last hour, the President of the United States has met with different leaders from the Fraternal Order of Police from across the country.
are cutting sweetheart deals.
We have a 45% reduction in jails.
We need help in Philadelphia.
We called on President Trump.
We need to draw attention to this so that we get the help.
- You may have the worst District Attorney or whatever the hell you call...
I've been hearing about this guy.
He lets killers out almost immediately.
What the hell?
How did you let that happen?
The city of brotherly love.
You better get yourself a new prosecutor in this place.
President Trump, the most criminal president of any of our lifetimes, come to Philadelphia.
- There's a lot of energy being spent from the FOP promoting their interpretations of what progressive prosecution means.
And then, in turn, we have to invest a lot of energy in correcting that.
And it's a real, constant pressure.
And sometimes, you've just got to knock down that obstacle in front of you.
Larry is a bulldozer, and you need a bulldozer to get through the political strength of the police union.
[phone line trilling] - Hello?
- Hi, Council Member.
This is Mike Lee.
The event next week came up, and I just wanted to get some details about that.
- So what we would have him do is about a 15-minute kind of presentation about what's going on because it's so [bleep] crazy out there right now.
Would there be any way to do the 27th as opposed to the 26th?
- Remember, this is an official hearing.
- So send me an email confirming that he's gonna participate, and then it should happen.
- All right.
I will update Larry.
There is a chance he may have to call you about other engagements on the 26th and finding the right time slot for him to come in.
He better figure it out.
Don't wanna hear no bull[bleep].
- [chuckles] Okay.
I shall relay your message.
[phone disconnects] [sighs] Got to sip some tea.
♪ ♪ - I recognize her frustration.
She sees the unfairness of a difficulty and a blight that's affected that area for a long time getting worse and worse.
There's a generational lack of power in every respect including economically and politically and everything else.
♪ ♪ Police who see this as a political opportunity are blaming me.
They'll go to community groups and they will tell them untrue things like I won't prosecute drug sellers.
Things like that.
Because they want to blame somebody.
There's so much politics in this.
Because there is no easy solution, everybody's trying to point at somebody else.
We have a lot of people up for election in council, so they latch on to something that they can say that's more encouraging than the truth.
The truth is we don't have great solutions.
- Many people in my district have experienced both sides, right?
They've been victimized, at some point, but they've also had people in their family go to jail.
So I think if the people of Kensington heard and understood the policy changes that Larry has made, they would totally support.
It's fairness, it's just, it's due process.
The burden on Larry is to get people to believe that this is going to be better for all of us.
[feedback screeches] Good afternoon, everyone.
We're about to begin.
[feedback screeches] - Thank you, council members, for giving me the opportunity to address the incredibly important issues of what's happening.
We've prepared some data for today and we have provided that to the members of the public who are here and also to the council members.
This data gives you the opportunity to review to what extent crime is actually going up or remaining fairly constant.
But the most important point is this.
For those of you who are under the impression that the district attorney's office is not bringing cases when the police make arrests, well, that is nonsense, and whoever has told you that is misleading you.
The data is here, and it is quite clear.
Homicide: five arrests.
Cases open: five.
Rape arrests: nine.
Cases open: nine.
Aggravated assault and firearm arrests: 46.
Cases open: 43.
Virtually every single arrest that is submitted to the district attorney's office is being charged, with a couple of exceptions.
Number one, we said that we would not arrest and prosecute people for possession-- I said possession-- of marijuana, and we don't, and then the other thing that we stopped doing is prosecuting sex workers.
So if you are being told by law enforcement that this D.A.
's office will not prosecute a drug dealer, you're being lied to.
We prosecute drug dealing of all types, including drug dealing in marijuana.
Those are the facts, and the statistics are here.
If you're being told by people in law enforcement that we will not prosecute people who break into your cars, you're being lied to.
We do it all the time, and the data is here.
There are occasions when law enforcement may not want to do something.
The battery got stolen from your car?
They don't want to do it.
Let me tell you what else they don't want to do.
They don't want to tell you they don't want to do it.
Lot easier to say, "Oh, district attorney'll never prosecute it."
We are, in fact, in the middle of an opioid crisis.
I know that your lives up here are incredibly difficult.
When you have people who, because they are suffering from a disorder called addiction, are homeless, and they are leaving dirty needles, and they are shooting up in public, and your kids see it, and your kids have to step over dirty needles.
I know how incredibly difficult that must be.
This is not the only place it ever happened.
There's no easy solution to it.
I'm open to all good ideas on this topic and working with people, but I'm not open to stupid.
I'm not open to doing stuff that has never worked and will never work.
So we're gonna have to work with science so that we can try to get somewhere.
But hopefully, if we work together, we can all do that.
[feedback screeches] - Thank you, Mr. District Attorney, for your comments.
I do want to make one remark, though, which is that we, as public servants, you know, people rely on us, and so to suggest that someone is, you know, outright lying because there is a difference of opinion that that's something that we probably want to phrase maybe in a different way.
We certainly don't want to give the impression to the public that we're not all working together and trying to address some of the things that are happening in these neighborhoods that have people basically terrified.
I think that that's something that we really have to be much more mindful of.
So with that being said, anybody have a comment?
- Not disputing the data, but when you are a resident who can't have a flower pot, who can't have a barbecue, who can't have a chair, how do we reassure them that we are working to restore their quality of life?
- I think one thing we do is we present real data, and what that real data shows is that when there are arrests made, there are cases prosecuted, then that should be reassuring, because it means that whatever they may have heard is not correct.
- Thank you so much, Mr. Krasner, for attending and for your comments this evening.
We really appreciate you and look forward to working together to address all of these issues that we have in our city so... - Thank you, council members.
- Thank you so much.
- I appreciate your listening.
- Can we have the clerk call the next panel?
- Excuse me!
[overlapping chatter] - Mr. Brian Abernathy, our city's managing director.
- Excuse me!
- Mr. Tumar Alexander.
- But he won't be able to answer questions!
- Are you avail-- If you can check and ask him to come back in so that we can have the community ask questions.
Thank--no, I--I-- Can we get him back here?
- To where?
- Just see if you can get him to come back here.
- Just give me one second.
- Back to address the public.
- It's bull.
He's still acting as a defense attorney, except me, you, and her are paying his salary now.
And that's bull[bleep].
[suspenseful music] - That, in a nutshell, is a report out on the work we've been doing.
We know there's a lot of work left to do.
Uh, I'll let Brian... [indistinct chatter] ♪ ♪ - It's gonna cost me a whole lot of time in repair, right?
The takeaways from that meeting is that the "science," right, 'cause he keeps using that, right, that phrasing, does not reflect their block, their house, their neighborhood.
That, to me, was so removed from what we knew we were gonna go into.
So he didn't read his audience, he didn't prepare for his audience, and showed no sympathy or empathy to the residents.
And that's not him, 'cause I know he cares.
- But that's why he gets so heated when he says, like, "If people say I'm not doing this, don't believe 'em, because I care, and I am."
- I asked him a really softball question, and it's like, what do I tell the person in this room?
Like, how are we going to restore their quality of life, and what's your role in that?
And he couldn't really answer that.
- Yeah, that's not good at all.
- And then he threw the police under the bus.
You know, I gotta keep those cops motivated.
I gotta work with them, you know.
Larry's unwillingness to do the retail politics is part of who he is and it's either gonna make him incredibly successful or not.
Like, there's no middle ground.
He is instructing a bunch of different people's worlds.
The prisons, the police.
It's the courts, it's the executive.
You get all of those systems deciding that he's a lone wolf and they don't want to cooperate or be helpful?
Not one member in council said the D.A.
's budget is my priority.
- They are gonna get all the pushback from police and all the other folks about him being uncooperative, so what's the incentive for them to make sure you have the resources you need?
I want him to be successful.
Every meeting I go to, "Your boy, your boy, your boy, your boy."
[laughing] Yeah, he's my boy.
But until I can be reassured that he gets what happened, I'm not gonna put no more political equity on the street.
[soft music] ♪ ♪ [indistinct chatter] ♪ ♪ [no audible dialogue] ♪ ♪ [horn honking] ♪ ♪ [horn honking] - My brother persuaded me to go to law school, partly on the observation that I love confrontation.
There is a part of me that enjoyed being in a courtroom, just because I do enjoy expressing the unpopular opinion and winning people over.
And I enjoy, probably more than anything, maybe too much, saying the true thing that nobody else will say.
That, you know, being direct has its virtues, but it may not have its virtues when people are suffering under difficult circumstances, when they're feeling a lot of pain, when they have a need to express themselves, for reasons that either do or do not have much to do with our office.
I just--the challenge is just to take it, take it, take it, take it, and stay kind, and listen more than you talk.
The challenge is, for me, not to be me.
[siren wailing] [tense music] ♪ ♪ - Good to see you again.
- Welcome, welcome.
- Hey, how are you?
- Nice seeing you.
- Nice to see you.
- So you're vice-president of the... - No, I'm the president.
- Board here?
- We can go in.
♪ ♪ We're gonna start with District Attorney Krasner.
We're gonna welcome him.
[applause] - First of all, thank you for being here.
I appreciate that you took the time.
I want to hear your questions.
- I would like to know where the D.A.
stands on the safe injection sites, because if this site is open, it's gonna create a criminal atmosphere, because where there's addicts, there are gonna-- bound to be dealers.
- Let me just say this, and I respect your opinion.
I really do.
Some people look at this issue, and they think, "Oh, you're only worried about the people using drugs.
That's all you care about."
No, that is actually not what we care about.
What we care about is that kids should be able to walk down the street in their sandals and not have so many used needles on the street.
What we care about is you shouldn't open your front door and have somebody sitting on your porch nodding off who might be doing that inside where people don't see it.
So if the question for me is am I gonna take a bunch of social workers and a bunch of idealistic doctors and medical students, am I going to charge them with crimes?
No, I am not.
I know that people believe, 'cause their intuition may tell them that this is going to result in more crime.
Well, it doesn't.
It's been studied.
The studies are clear.
It does not result in more crime around those centers.
Again, I say this respectfully, 'cause I appreciate what you are going through here.
But the reality is it has been a failure to lock up people who use drugs.
- You can say we can't arrest our way out of this, and you're right, maybe we can't, but maybe arresting some of them and sending a message back to the guys on the corner is correct.
Your job is the chief prosecutor of the city of Philadelphia.
Your job is, as the police officers are arresting people that are committing crimes, is to prosecute them, to make the rest of us sitting here safe.
We don't want a defense attorney as our prosecutor.
You are not being fair to the citizens here, and if you can't see that, I think you better go look and see what your job description was.
- Yes, yes.
Let me just say this.
First of all, I appreciate you being here.
I appreciate-- - Oh, I wouldn't have missed it; believe me.
- I missed going to the shore to be here tonight.
- Well, I appreciate that, and I appreciate your expressing all of that.
There's no question that people are going through a very difficult time here, and what you are describing, the difficult situations up here, is not helped by having this philosophy that the police are gonna solve the problem.
That is not fair to the police.
It puts too much burden on them.
Look, I'm not gonna minimize anything that you're going through.
What you're going through is incredibly difficult.
The reality is, even though this glut of pills has made things a lot worse in the last several years, the heroin issue has been here for more than 50 years.
Locking up people all those years, hollering "war on drugs," it got you here, so I suggest we don't keep doing what does not work.
I suggest that we prosecute the dealers, and we deal with the users in a way that makes more sense.
I appreciate your passion.
I appreciate how direct you were, even when you disagree.
I want this conversation to continue, and I look forward to the next chance I'm gonna have to speak to all of you.
So thank you very much.
[applause] So what is it you think we could do to help?
- I'm not sure, because there's this cycle of--we're living here, and they buy, sell, use their drugs here and recover.
Some--we have recovery programs throughout the neighborhood.
The dealers, with the demand being so high, once they're arrested, there's more to come.
Then when they get out, they have, like, the ones who came and took their place.
- So I'm like, I don't know how to break this cycle.
But it's unfair, because it's a very poor community.
That we can't keep replacing things that are stolen.
- Now that I am in government, what I've figured out is that you have a megaphone you never had before.
You are seen as speaking with a certain level of authority that requires you, at times, to be a little quieter than you might have been, in private life.
It's almost just like having a really booming voice.
It can be a little deafening, and when you don't realize that, because you got so many years of not having that loud voice, it takes some adjustment.
You have to turn down the volume a little bit.
[soft music] ♪ ♪ - Next time on "Philly D.A."...
- A Black man has been shot by a police officer.
- Are we ever gonna be perfect?
- He tries to shoot him in the back.
Like, directly in front of him.
- You need to argue this, and we need to prove it.
- What this is, this is murder, and we're not having it.
- Clearly a district attorney who has an anti-law enforcement agenda.
- My guys don't trust you as far as they can throw you.
What am I to tell them?
- I suggest you don't shoot unarmed people in the back.
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