Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives filed articles of impeachment Wednesday against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, saying the twice-elected prosecutor should be removed because his progressive policies have fueled record violent crime levels in the sixth-most populous U.S. city, reports the Wall Street Journal. Krasner decried the filing in Twitter posts. The move is “devastating to democracy, and it shows how far toward fascism the Republican party is creeping. These Republicans divest from communities and then grandstand about crime for political gain,” he said. Krasner is one of several progressive prosecutors who have taken office around the U.S. in recent years.
Such prosecutors have pursued such goals as sending nonviolent drug offenders to treatment instead of jail, sparing juveniles from being prosecuted as adults and looking at old cases to free wrongfully convicted people from prison. The filing came less than two weeks ahead of midterm elections in which Republicans have made crime a top campaign issue against Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania and other states. Like many other cities, Philadelphia has grappled with a sharp violent crime increase, particularly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Homicides in Philadelphia hit a record 562 last year, after rising for years, from 277 in 2016. Some city residents blame Krasner for increases in shootings in their neighborhood. He has rejected such criticism and said police need to make arrests in more cases so his office has more defendants to prosecute. Republicans have seized on the city’s high crime levels and despair felt by many residents.