John McNesby, president of Philadelphia’s police union, found a new venue Friday to criticize District Attorney Larry Krasner: the White House.
McNesby was among a group of municipal police union officials nationwide who met with President Donald Trump to condemn prosecutors like Krasner, who have taken office across the country pledging to make the criminal justice system less punitive.
McNesby said that the White House meeting lasted about two hours and also included officials from the federal Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security. Leaders from the national Fraternal Order of Police attended, McNesby said, as did police union officials from cities including Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston. Prosecutors in each of those cities have pledged in varying degrees to seek to reduce incarceration.
Most of the topics McNesby said were discussed — such as a rise in shootings and homicides — would be familiar to Krasner, a frequent target of McNesby’s since before Krasner took office. In a statement released Friday afternoon, McNesby said Krasner had “created a culture in Philadelphia that is anti-law enforcement and leaves victims without a true advocate.”
In a statement Friday afternoon, Krasner fired back: “I am honored once again to be attacked by President Trump, the most criminal U.S. president of my lifetime, and to hear it from one of his local megaphones, John McNesby. As usual in Trumpworld, the attacks are fact-free. Sorry, guys. History is not on your side.”
Krasner also invited Trump to Philadelphia for a “a robust discussion of criminal justice and policing.”
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has echoed McNesby’s criticisms of progressive prosecutors, many of whom have sought to reduce the use of cash bail, deemphasize low-level offenses, and ultimately reduce the number of people behind bars.
This week, Barr also suggested that communities that did not “respect” law enforcement “might find themselves without the police protection they need” — remarks that were called disturbing by some advocates.
McNesby’s latest broadsides follow his recent attack on Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins’ Inquirer op-ed column on the selection of a new city police commissioner.
Krasner backed Jenkins at the time, saying: “We have some people, like Malcolm Jenkins, who want to take us up and forward, and we have others — and unfortunately John McNesby is an example of this — who want to take us down and backward.”
Friday’s White House meeting came just days before Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to host a political rally in Hershey. McNesby said the impending visit to Pennsylvania did not come up during the discussion.