Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Ralph Cipriano: Philadelphia Mayor, Police Pleaded For Help In Opioid Crisis, But D.A. Said Hell No

Veteran journalist and author Ralph Cipriano offers a piece on his website Bigtrial.net about a 2018 meeting between Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (seen above on the right) police officials and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (seen above on the left), in which the DA refused to help the police deal with the opioid crisis in the city. 

It was standing room only in the mayor's conference room at City Hall. On Oct. 17, 2018 Mayor Jim Kenney had gathered some 20 top police officials, including the police commissioner, to meet with a half-dozen top officials from the District Attorney's office, led by the D.A. himself, Larry Krasner.

The mayor had convened the meeting to discuss how the D.A.'s office might cooperate with the cops and a newly created city-wide task force in dealing with the opioid crisis in Kensington. The concerns were that crime was on the rise, including human trafficking, and that addicts were dying in record numbers.

But Krasner wanted no part of any anti-drug task force. In response to pleas from the mayor and top police officials, Krasner gave what was described as a lecture. The federal government, he said, was to blame for bringing drugs into the country. The war on drugs was a colossal failure. And the bottom line was the top law enforcement official in the city wasn't going to lift a finger to help in any opioid crisis. The D.A. subsequently ended the 90-minute meeting by telling the mayor and the assembled police officials, hey we're done here.

"I was stunned," recalled one official at the meeting. "He [Krasner] basically disrespected the mayor and every other person in the room."

On hand in the mayor's conference that day were then Police Commissioner Richard Ross, deputy police commissioners, district captains, chief inspectors and lieutenants, as well as the city's then First Deputy Managing Director, Brian Abernathy, and First Assistant District Attorney Robert Listenbee.

What the mayor was trying to do was to get D.A. Krasner to consider changing some of his policies that in the view of the cops, were only enabling more crime and exacerbating the opioid crisis. Some specific incidents were discussed. Such as a crossing guard who was escorting students and suddenly found herself in the middle of an angry dispute between rival drug dealers vying for the same corner.

The cops were called, they made arrests, but the district attorney's office let the suspects go, and declined to prosecute anybody. 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:


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