Statement by United States Attorney William M. McSwain on the Shooting of Six Philadelphia Police Officers
What I witnessed last night was true heroism by the Philadelphia police. But the crisis was precipitated by a stunning disrespect for law enforcement – a disrespect so flagrant and so reckless that the suspect immediately opened fire on every single officer within shooting distance. Only by the grace of God did they survive.
Where does such disrespect come from?
There is a new culture of disrespect for law enforcement in this City that is promoted and championed by District Attorney Larry Krasner – and I am fed up with it.
It started with chants at the DA’s victory party – chants of “F*** the police” and “No good cops in a racist system.”
We’ve now endured over a year and a half of the worst kinds of slander against law enforcement – the DA routinely calls police and prosecutors corrupt and racist, even “war criminals” that he compares to Nazis.
This vile rhetoric puts our police in danger. It disgraces the Office of the District Attorney. And it harms the good people in the City of Philadelphia and rewards the wicked.
The alleged shooter last night, Maurice Hill, is a previously convicted felon with a long rap sheet. We have plenty of criminal laws in this City – but what we don’t have is robust enforcement by the District Attorney. Instead, among other things, we have diversionary programs for gun offenses, the routine downgrading of charges for violent crime, and entire sections of the criminal code that are ignored.
The criminal laws in this City – and especially the existing gun laws and drug laws – should be aggressively enforced in order to protect the public and the police. My Office is doing all that we can. We have prosecuted 70% more violent crime cases this year than we did last year, in response to the District Attorney’s lawlessness. But it is now time for the District Attorney and his enablers to stop making excuses for criminals. It is time for accountability. It is time to support law enforcement and to put the good people of this City first.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Philadelphia police and our federal partners, is investigating the horrible events of last night and we are considering all options at our disposal. We will do everything that we can to support our brothers and sisters in the Philadelphia Police Department and ensure justice is done.
To the officers involved last night – those who were wounded and those who rushed to defend them – and to their families, I say thank you. The whole City thanks you. We owe you more than we can ever repay.