Philadelphia’s top prosecutor says he’s ready to “fight fascism” and will take legal action against any law-breaking federal law enforcement officers sent to his city by President Trump.
“My dad volunteered and served in World War II to fight fascism, like most of my uncles, so we would not have an American president brutalizing and kidnapping Americans for exercising their constitutional rights and trying to make America a better place, which is what patriots do,” Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner told Bloomberg CityLab in an interview published Wednesday.
“Anyone, including federal law enforcement, who unlawfully assaults and kidnaps people will face criminal charges from my office,” he added.
President Trump suggested this week that he would deploy federal agents in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Milwaukee after Homeland Security officers were deployed to Portland, Oregon – where they came under fire for grabbing protesters off the street and arresting them without probable cause in what Trump described as a “fantastic job.”
“We have a president who is acting like an authoritarian dictator – we know he likes them – but he is acting just like one now,” Krasner told MSNBC’s Joy Reid on Thursday. “And he is doing it against people who are exercising their constitutional rights – they are trying to make the country better which is what patriots do. The law applies equally to everyone. I know this president likes to say it doesn’t apply to him, but it does. And it also applies to all of his federal agents. So if necessary, they will be arrested, they will be prosecuted and they can face a Philadelphia jury one way or the other.”
“Asked for clarification if the federal agents would be subject to arrest, Krasner said: “I am saying that when you break people’s skulls with rubber bullets without lawful justification when you kidnap them off the street without probable cause in your military gear with your names hidden, these are crimes under Pennsylvania law. And as the prosecutorial authority in Philadelphia acting under Pennsylvania law, they will be prosecuted under Pennsylvania law.”
"When you break peoples' skulls with rubber bullets without lawful justification … these are crimes under PA law. As the prosecutorial authority in Philadelphia acting under PA law, they will be prosecuted under PA law."@DA_LarryKrasner on federal agents in cities #TheReidOut pic.twitter.com/AJfeazDhuf
— The ReidOut (@thereidout) July 23, 2020
Elizabeth Goitein of the Brennan Center for Justice said Trump’s deployment of federal agents was a pretext to have federal agents supplant local police.
In short, the use of a secret federal paramilitary force in Portland (and soon Chicago and likely other cities) is every bit the abuse of power that it appears to be. And it’s an abuse we can expect to see again in November if the administration isn’t called to account. 14/14
— Elizabeth Goitein (@LizaGoitein) July 21, 2020