U.S. Attorney William McSwain praised police officers for what he called “true heroism by police” after an insane stand-off in which six Philadelphia Police Officers were shot at 15th Street and Erie Avenue yesterday. The suspect, Maurice Hill, 36, opened fire when police attempted to serve a narcotics warrant. In the end, Hill surrendered to police, and all six officers will recover.
McSwain had praise for Police Commissioner Richard Ross as well, saying “I think the Police Commissioner handled this beautifully, did everything appropriately.” Saying that Mayor Jim Kenney referred to Ross as the best Police Commissioner in the country, McSwain added “I think is a terrific praise and very appropriate.”
That’s where his praise ended at a press conference today.
District Attorney Larry Krasner was the target of McSwain’s criticism — and he didn’t hold back. The U.S. Attorney said that this crisis was precipitated by a stunning disrespect for law enforcement, so flagrant and reckless, that the suspect immediately opened fire on every single officer in shooting distance yesterday.
“This is a new culture of disrespect for law enforcement in the city, that is unfortunately promoted and is championed by District Attorney Larry Krasner, and I am fed up with it,” said McSwain. “It started with chants at the District Attorney’s victory party — chants of ‘F the police’ and ‘No good cops in a racist system’.”
A video has been circulating on social media showing people in the neighborhood taunting police officers, in a very tense situation, as they were moving away from the shooting location.
Krasner said today that it’s clear that Hill shouldn’t have had a gun, and shouldn’t have been on the streets, as he was already a felon. McSwain, though, placed blame on Krasner for the city having to endure over a year-and-a-half of the worst kind of slander against law enforcement with the District Attorney routinely calling the police corrupt and racist.
“This vile rhetoric puts our police in danger,” said McSwain. “It disrespects the office of the District Attorney, and it harms the good people of this city, and it rewards the wicked.”
“It’s time 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.” In a final blow, he said that the District Attorney’s office should be looking at Attempted Murder charges, pursuing them aggressively and appropriately — but because of a certain amount of distrust in the public of what the D.A. might do, “We’re going to be providing some adult supervision.”