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Philadelphia DA says GOP's focus on crime surge is 'racist messaging'

State House Republicans have been working since June to impeach Krasner, a Democrat, due to the uptick in crime since he was elected in 2017. According to 2020 data, shootings are up 54 percent, and homicides have climbed by 50 percent since he entered office.

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Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner held a press conference Friday to speak against a Republican-led effort to impeach him, during which he accused the GOP of using "coded and racist language" in their efforts to target crime. 

State House Republicans have been working since June to impeach Krasner, a Democrat, due to the uptick in crime since he was elected in 2017. According to 2020 data, shootings are up 54 percent, and homicides have climbed by 50 percent since he entered office. 

In 2021, a record was set with 561 homicides city-wide, according to the Office of the Controller. So far this year, there have been 431 homicides.

Pennsylvania Republicans have blamed much of this increase in crime on Krasner. According to state Rep. Martina White, the "skyrocketing crime" is "due to DA Larry Krasner's weak-on-crime leadership."

Gubernatorial candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz has also pointed fingers at the DA for business closures due to the record levels of crime.

In response to the criticism, Krasner pulled the "racism" card and accused the committee working to impeach him of attempting to "erase Philadelphia's votes." 

"When the Democrats said, 'Okay, you want to study law and order, you want to study crime; let's study the whole state.' Something I would have invited, and frankly, I invite it right now. Republicans said, 'Oh, no. Oh, no, no, we're just looking at Philly. We're just looking at Philly right now,' in a superheated election cycle, where part of the Republican playbook – as you well know – is to point a finger at large diverse cities, and say large diverse cities are 'lawless,'" Krasner said to reporters Friday morning.

"That remind you of anything? You ever heard that before? Those of you in the press are students of history, you're aware of the Southern strategy," the DA said, in reference to the Republican movement in the 1950s and 60s to appeal to white conservative Democrats' racial grievances during the Civil Rights Movement.

"I encourage you – go watch the video of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew in 1968 at the Republican Convention… and what word is coming out of Richard Nixon's mouth as he points to one large diverse city after another? 'Lawlessness, lawlessness, lawlessness… What we see here is the same old playbook, which is about coded and racist messaging. It's about blaming the biggest city in Pennsylvania with the most diverse population for having the same national struggle that we have with gun violence everywhere," Krasner continued, before arguing that seeking his impeachment is only for "political purposes."

"Straight up, this is an effort to impeach someone for political purposes, who has done nothing corrupt and nothing illegal because they want to erase Philadelphia's votes."

Krasner's statements come as FOX29 reported that a man who he released last year after serving a partial sentence in connection to a 2012 homicide is now wanted by the Philadelphia Police Department for another murder last month. 

According to the DA's office, Jahmir Harris is wanted along with two other suspects for the murder of a 50-year-old man. A decade ago, he was convicted of murdering a man in a Walgreens parking, but Krassner maintained that "the facts alleged in the new arrest warrant for Harris have no bearing on the overturning of Harris' 2012 conviction."

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