WASHINGTON (AP/CBS) — President Donald Trump used a ceremony for fallen law enforcement officers on Wednesday to criticize big-city prosecutors — including Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner — he asserts don’t go after criminals who pose a severe threat to public safety. Trump pledged to the families of fallen officers that the country will “never, ever leave your side, never disappoint you” but went beyond memorializing for much of the annual event.
He singled out prosecutors in Philadelphia and Chicago as being part of a “dangerous trend” by deciding not to prosecute “many criminals who pose a severe threat to public safety and community well-being.”READ MORE: Montgomery County's Lower Merion Township Ranked 37th Best Place To Live In United States
Krasner fired back, saying the president is welcome to debate criminal justice reform with him.
”As a prosecutor, I’m used to being criticized by criminals. Donald Trump is invited to debate criminal justice reform with me in Philadelphia, where Police Department statistics show violent crime remains down 5% since we took office. Warning, Mr. Trump: We will be using facts!” Krasner said.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office released a statement afterward stating that for years, “we have tried the old, failed way of indiscriminately locking up communities advocated by the Trump Justice Department, and too often what it got us was an ever growing prison population and way too many repeat offenders, especially in communities of color.”
The office said it was committed to prosecuting those truly guilty of violent crimes, but fundamentally changing how it deals with nonviolent offenders.READ MORE: Suspect Turns Himself In For Deadly Beating Outside Pat's Steaks In South Philadelphia, Police Confirm
The president also renewed his calls for changes to the nation’s immigration laws, citing the shooting death last December of a Northern California police officer, Cpl. Ronil Singh. Trump said the suspect in Singh’s killing could have been kept out with “border security, with the wall, with whatever the hell it takes.” Paulo Virgen Mendoza, suspected of being in the country illegally, has pleaded not guilty in the case.
Trump also made an apparent reference to the case of actor Jussie Smollett, saying that “those who file false police reports should face full legal consequences.”
The actor was charged with felony disorderly conduct and accused of making a false police report after claiming he was attacked by two masked men who shouted slurs at him and put a noose around his neck. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office abruptly dropped the charges in March.
The White House did not comment on whether Trump was specifically citing the Smollett case.
The 38th annual memorial service honored 228 peace officers who died in the line of duty last year.MORE NEWS: Center City Street Closures, Parking Restrictions In Effect For Filming Of Adam Sandler 'Hustle' Movie
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