*Submitted by BBO member and retired Police Officer ‘Joltin Joe’ *
By now you may have seen the viral photo coming out of Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s Office. The Wall of Remembrance, featuring the photos of the 23 Philadelphia Police Officers killed in the line of duty during the term of former DA Lynne Abraham, was covered by a backdrop bearing the repeated logo of the DA’s office. It sparked outrage on social media for the sheer disrespect shown, once again, towards law enforcement by the office of District Attorney Larry Krasner.
Mr Krasner was elected as a progressive candidate intent on reforming the criminal justice system in Philadelphia. However, it was clear he also had plans to use his office to wage war against the police department. This was evident the very night he won the Democratic primary, which virtually ensured a win in the general election in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 7–1. Krasner’s supporters began chanting, “Fu*k the FOP” and “No good cops in a racist system”. Larry Krasner made it clear that his sights were set on cops. This, of course, should have come as no surprise considering Krasner had sued the PPD over 75 times in the past. He’s essentially made a career out of it.
Philadelphia isn’t unlike other major cities in many aspects. They have more than their fair share of crime and national headlines. As the birthplace of liberty, they have also seen their fair share of protests. Seemingly every weekend there is some sort of protest happening somewhere in Philadelphia. It has been that way for years. These protests would come and go with hardly a mention in the media as they were uneventful and handled superbly by the police department. In years past, Philadelphia always managed to keep these protests from turning into riots even as other cities burned. The PPD was nationally recognized for its handling of the Republican National Convention in 2000 where they were able to flawlessly control the chaos; all because the police had a game plan and stuck to it. It has, likewise, been that way for years and has kept Philly from burning; that is until 2020. Philadelphia finally burned, and it did so in the national spotlight, in large part caused by fallout from the death of George Floyd and the ensuing national protests.
So what changed? Leadership – more specifically, LACK of leadership. The Philadelphia Police Department was now being run by the pandering “woke” mayor, Jim Kenney, the timid puppet Police Commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, and the cop hating Larry Krasner. Mayor Jim Kenney has his eyes set on a larger role in government and will do anything to prove just how “woke” he is since he certainly can’t get elected based on merit. This is a man who was once nicknamed ‘Baby Huey’ by former Pennsylvania State Senator Vince Fumo. Mayor Kenney has served his terms reminding Philadelphia white residents how lucky they are because they‘re white and, thus, should have nothing to complain about. That’s his whole shtick. So when former Police Commissioner Richard Ross resigned abruptly, the Mayor announced a national search for a replacement, while First Deputy Commissioner Christine Coulter assumed the interim Commissioner role. Mayor Kenney held public hearings geared towards learning what City Council and special interest groups had to say on the matter. They made it explicitly clear that they wanted a black female replacement. There was no beating around the bush. In a public broadcast of these hearings, watched by very few Philadelphians, speakers were emphatic. They wanted a black female Police Commissioner and nothing else would be acceptable. So even though interim Police Commissioner Christine Coulter was the most qualified candidate and had transitioned smoothly into the role, she lacked the proper skin color being demanded by the mob. Kenney did what he was told. He hired the only black female applicant, Danielle Outlaw, as his Police Commissioner. That’s the crux of her qualifications to lead one of the largest Police departments in the country: she was the only black female candidate. Imagine putting that on your resume.
Danielle Outlaw has proven time and time again in Philadelphia that she is in over her head. On the rare occasions that she actually gives interviews, it’s with hand picked reporters who ask softball questions; seemingly every time, blaming her failures on the department and citizens not accepting her for being a black female – ironically, the very two things that secured her employment to begin with. She fails to mention that the city of Philadelphia has seen black women in many leadership roles for decades and has supported them whole-heartedly. She also fails to mention that she is rarely seen outside the safety of her office. She’s come to be known by the rank and file as ‘MIA’, for Missing In Action.
Protests over the death of George Floyd were taking place all over the country. Many of them turned into full blown riots. Rank and file PPD officers knew it was coming eventually to Philadelphia. The media knew it. The citizens knew it. I’ll give you one guess as to who seemingly DIDN’T know it and metaphorically got caught with their pants down? Mayor Kenney and Commissioner Outlaw. Willful ignorance or ineptness? My gut tells me likely a mix of both.
When the protests did start in Philadelphia, operational orders were certainly available. Besides the RNC in 2000, Philadelphia had in recent years, hosted the Democratic National Convention and the Papal visit. As a result, at least on paper, they were prepared to handle large scale protests and any ensuing flare ups of violence. Yet when the protest turned to violence, the Philadelphia Police Department was woefully unprepared and the riots caused millions of dollars worth of damages. A department that was once hailed nationally for handling large scale protests was now publicly embarrassed for their tepid response.
Not wanting to sit on the sidelines and seeing an opportunity to jump in the limelight, Larry Krasner decided to weaponize the riots against the Police Department. Skirmishes were breaking out throughout historic Center City Philadelphia and the boots on the ground police officers did their best to contain them. The rioters got a helping hand from District Attorney staffers who were Tweeting police locations and advising rioters to stop posting incriminating videos; this coming from the office of the city’s top law enforcement official. During these skirmishes, Staff Inspector Joe Bologna was one of the few commanders who put himself in harm’s way by leading his squad of bike officers from the front lines instead of from an undisclosed location like Commissioner Outlaw. When they encountered one group on the Ben Franklin Parkway, things once again turned violent. During the fight rioters were spraying the officers with chemical irritants and urine, throwing bottles, and verbally and physically assaulting the officers.
Rioter Evan Gorski, a Temple student, admittedly attempted to prevent Inspector Bologna from arresting a male who had sprayed liquid on the officers. During the fight, he can be seen on video stealing Bologna’s department issued baton and admitted as much in a later statement. Staff Inspector Bologna used his baton in accordance with police directives and struck Gorski. Larry Krasner saw an opportunity and arrested Inspector Bologna. Meanwhile, no charges were filed against Gorski for assault or theft. Krasner claimed it was an aggravated assault causing a head wound to Gorski. During the preliminary hearing, Gorski admitted to interfering with a lawful arrest and to stealing the baton. The video was played frame by frame. It clearly showed that Bologna’s baton made contact with Gorski’s backpack and NOT his head as he claimed. It also showed there was no blood nor wound. Charges against Inspector Bologna were dismissed. End of story right? Not in Philadelphia.
Larry Krasner views himself as some sort of deity and being told he’s wrong doesn’t sit well with him. So he did what he does best: he got revenge. He had Staff Inspector Bologna rearrested, hoping he’d find a more cooperative judge next time.
What‘s important to note here is that Philadelphia is in the midst of a gun violence crisis. Krasner’s office prosecutes few of the many people arrested on gun charges. His rookie staff of Assistant District Attorneys have a losing record of those actually brought to trial. They rarely rearrest those offenders. But Bologna is a cop so he was arrested again. Philadelphia justice under Larry Krasner.
As if this sideshow wasn’t enough, Krasner wasn’t done. A group of protesters took over a ramp and the roadway of Interstate 676, a major thoroughfare and a route leading to several hospitals including Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The police were sent to disperse the crowd. Naturally, the rioters were unwilling to comply necessitating force. Although it is now disputed as to who gave the order (it was Outlaw), tear gas was deployed. As the crowd was trying to avoid arrest, some chose to block the Interstate by kneeling on the ground. After again being ordered to disperse, they refused, forcing police to deploy pepper spray, again at the direction of their commanders. The protesters were wearing masks and goggles. Philadelphia SWAT Officer Richard Nicoletti was observed spraying several protesters blocking the interstate and was observed on video pulling down the mask of one protester because the spray was obviously ineffective due to the protective gear being worn.
Larry Krasner saw yet another opportunity to grandstand at the expense of his city’s finest. He had Officer Nicoletti charged with assault, completely ignoring that the officer was ORDERED to use the pepper spray by his commanding officers. During an interview, Krasner made reference to an incident involving the “elder Nicoletti“, Richard Nicoletti’s police officer father. Turns out that Krasner had represented a decedent in a previous police shooting involving the elder Nicoletti. Due to a conflict of interest, Krasner had to recuse himself and the shooting case involving Officer Nicoletti’s father was sent to the State Attorney General who cleared all officers involved. Again, a revenge arrest by Larry Krasner.
These are just two examples that played out over a few days this past summer. There are countless others. There’s the charging of Officer Ryan Pownall with first degree murder resulting from an on duty shooting before Krasner’s term even began and for which he was cleared by the former District Attorney. There’s the railroading of Detective Derrick Jacobs who, while detailed to the DA’s Office, conducted the second investigation of the shooting involving Pownall and exonerated him a second time. There’s the abhorrent treatment of hero Officer Robert Wilson’s survivors during the trial of his killers. Larry Krasner’s behavior towards them was so dismissive and ignorant that former Mayor Mike Nutter, who was present at the trial tweeted at the time, “I just left the hearing for our Hero, @philapolice Sgt Robert Wilson. The Wilson family showed great dignity! It was so painful to see them treated poorly by @philadao, with no interaction in the Courtroom by the DA. Sgt Wilson gave his life, at least have a trial to respect him.”
There’s the outright racism displayed by his spokesperson, Jane Roh, who tweeted, “There’s something about this picture, can’t qwhite put my finger on it...“ making reference to the color white while putting a ‘q’ in front. This was in response to a picture of retired Philadelphia Police Officers who were attending a rally opposing Larry Krasner when it became apparent that he wasn’t willing to try to prevent the release of cop killing animal Mumia Abu Jamal. Of course she used a picture showing only a handful of officers and not the whole crowd which included a diverse crowd of slain Officer Danny Faulkner’s contemporaries.
I could fill a book on the facts of the Danny Faulkner case and the subsequent circus performed by the cop killer’s supporters. Their antics and rhetoric is expected by now. What was NOT expected was the complicity of the very office that prosecuted the cop killer. It started with a claim of 10 boxes of evidence having been found, implying that they were withheld from the defense. Former ADA Joe McGill, who originally prosecuted Jamal, refuted that claim saying it wasn’t lost to begin with and contained nothing exculpatory. It has led to Krasner allowing the cop killer to appeal a decision on whether or not State Supreme Court Judge Ron Castille should have recused himself from other appeals due to his role as a former Philadelphia District Attorney. In other words, a waste of time legal mess will drag on and provide no closure to Danny’s widow Maureen all in the name of politics and grandstanding. It is also the first time that the possibility that this cop killer could be freed has become a reality, since the office responsible for keeping him in jail is granting appeals without a defense. Again, just a few examples.
Philadelphia is facing a gun violence epidemic the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the 80s. There were 499 murders in 2020. This year, they’re already nearing 80. The Kenney-Outlaw-Krasner triangle has blamed, at different times, poverty, racism, and the pandemic. None are laying blame where it belongs: Philadelphia’s revolving door of “justice”; the very door being manned by Larry Krasner himself. His office has declined a record number of prosecutions yet refuses to disclose the declination numbers, despite them being classified as public record. The criminal element in Philadelphia is emboldened knowing that, even if their cases get prosecuted at all, they’ll be given a sweetheart deal anyway by the DA. It‘s no wonder that on the streets of Philadelphia, Larry Krasner is affectionately known by the perps as ‘Uncle Larry’.
This article has focused just on Larry Krasner’s vendetta against police officers. His arrogance doesn’t just end with them. His office is notorious for its mistreatment of crime victims and for sweetheart plea deals given to violent offenders. That’s an article for another day. So this is what Philadelphia Police are up against, as are American police officers from cities coast to coast. They have no support from their ‘woke’ mayor, their in-over-her-head Police Commissioner, and their vengeful District Attorney, Larry Krasner who, subsequently, is up for reelection this year. The only hope Philadelphia has to rid themselves of him is the Democratic primary. Carlos Vega, one of the many seasoned veteran prosecutors fired by Larry is running against him. There’s a campaign for Republican voters to switch parties just for the primary to vote for Vega. Should Vega lose, Krasner will likely win the general election. However, famed Philly lawyer Charles Peruto has said, should Vega lose in the primary, he’ll run as a Republican against Larry in the general election. That‘s the drama playing out surrounding a one noble office in Philadelphia, now reduced to a political vengeance tool. Good luck, Philadelphia. You’re going to need it.