Thursday morning we all woke up to the news that 6 people were shot and 2 killed, in the Strawberry Mansion and Grays Ferry neighborhoods. As of today, Friday October 6, 2017, 233 people have been killed this year in Philadelphia. That is up 8% from last year. On September 25th a piece on the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims appeared on this website, members of this campaign staff attended events in Philadelphia to commemorate murder victims, some to honor murder victims from their own families. Since that day 11 people have been murdered by gun violence in Philadelphia. That is one person killed every day over the past 11 days and 90% of those being killed are young men. 78% are African American, 15% are Hispanic, and most of them never make it to their 30th birthday. Tragic gun violence is hurting our city every day and while the recent declaration of gun violence being a public health crisis by city council is worth applauding, it is only symbolic. We need more than symbolic gestures and rallies after tragedies. We need to get serious about gun violence.
The agenda of the Democratic candidate for DA, Larry Krasner, has skewed the conversations in the District Attorney’s Race about crime in our city, in the media, at debates, at forums, and it must end. Many of those outlets have not been talking about, or asking questions about, the most important job of the District Attorney: serving and protecting victims and witnesses of crime. When people are being shot and killed every day in Philadelphia we need to talk about victims and how those deaths are affecting our communities.
The Democratic candidate has a difficult time talking about supporting victims and witnesses of crime, because he has defended people in violent shooting crimes. He has recently worked with Jack McMahon, a former prosecutor who is known for creating instructional videos on how to prevent ‘young blacks’ from serving on juries. Together they have defended violent robberies where guns were used , questioning surviving victims of those crimes until they were brought to tears. Krasner sought out McMahon’s assistance when he actively petitioned for the endorsement of the FOP. The FOP decided they wanted nothing to do with that.
“During my 21 1/2 years as a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office,” Beth said, “I prosecuted individuals for illegal possession of guns. I prosecuted drug cases that involved both drugs and guns. I prosecuted those who harmed people by shooting them. Additionally, for eight years, I was the Chief of the Public Nuisance Task Force, the unit which worked with communities to close down violent bars where gun violence happened. Some of these bars included the Jaguar Lounge, Club Solo, the Felton Supper Club and the Corral Bar.”
The Democratic candidate and his supporters refuse to talk about victims of crime in Philadelphia, while he speaks about the African American and Hispanic community in terms as if they are all criminals. They are not. These are valuable members of our communities and city at large being gunned down in our streets every day and we need to talk about that, we need to provide support and resources for these families experiencing loss. The work of the District Attorney’s Office is to give a voice to victims. It is time to get serious with how we talk about victims of crime in Philadelphia, especially in relation to the race for District Attorney.
“If elected District Attorney of Philadelphia,” Beth said, “I pledge to vigorously prosecute gun crimes in order to prevent lives from being lost and to make neighborhoods safer.”