John Fetterman had a disastrous tenure as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania

John Fetterman had a disastrous tenure as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania
John Fetterman speaks at a 2021 news conference in Harrisburg.

John Fetterman, who wants to be a U.S. Senator, left a disaster behind in the town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, where he was mayor for 13 years. Braddock has gone  from having some vitality to being a poverty-stricken, crime-infested place. Yet Fetterman claims his tenure was a big success. As residents point out, that’s not true at all, things got much worse under Fetterman:

“The town was the place to be,” [resident Tony] Lundy said. “Braddock Avenue had four or five businesses on every block on both sides of the street, every kind of business you could think of — shoe stores, dress shops, men’s stores, restaurants, beauty shops, barber shops, a grocery store. Now look at it, there is nothing.”

He points down the desolate street, devoid of the crowds that he says once walked shoulder to shoulder to get from one place to the other. . . .

Fetterman has boasted that “as mayor of Braddock and its chief law enforcement officer, I worked with the chief of police, our police officers, and the community to reduce violent crime.” But data between 2005 and 2018 show that violent crime actually rose under his leadership. . . .

Lundy laughs when he hears Fetterman’s stories. “Brought it back to what? Life? Come on. Look around you, there ain’t no life here, nothing is rebuilt here, nobody brought anything back, it got worse,” he said of Braddock.

Lundy said he wished the Fetterman legend was true. “I really do, but you can’t put this back together, and it is insulting to those who live here to tell us that we are better off because of him.”….

Fetterman has also faced sharp criticism for … failing to pay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes on time to the Woodland Hills School District. The school district placed more than 30 tax liens against Fetterman for unpaid property taxes from 2006 to 2019 and sued him twice. He took six years to pay them off.

No one in Braddock begrudges Fetterman for coming from wealth, or that his parents paid his salary until he was 49 years old…What they mind is him pretending to be something he is not: a doer.

Fetterman’s latest campaign partner is a left-wing political action committee that backs defunding the police, and labeled critics of defunding the police as “squeamish centrists” and “appeasers,” reports the Free Beacon:

Brand New Congress… endorsed Fetterman as a “bold, progressive voice” who if elected will bring “transformational change” to the Senate. The organization also announced a joint fundraising initiative with Fetterman that will split contributions between the PAC and Fetterman’s campaign.

Brand New Congress has repeatedly called to defund law enforcement and said it supports progressives who are “unapologetic” in supporting that and other “revolutionary change.” The group has urged lawmakers to sign Rep. Cori Bush’s (D. Mo.) pledge to defund police and has accused former president Barack Obama of “appeasement” for criticizing the movement’s slogan.

Fetterman’s support for Brand New Congress could undermine his bid to flip a Republican seat in a purple state. Americans have soured on the defund movement in recent years, with 75 percent of voters in a recent poll saying the movement is responsible for a spike in violent crime…Republican candidate Mehmet Oz has run ads highlighting Fetterman’s votes as head of Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons to release convicted murderers from prison. A group of Pennsylvania sheriffs criticized Fetterman’s calls to release one-third of all state prisoners and his support for left-wing Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner…. Fetterman’s collaboration with Brand New Congress is part of a pattern of working closely with proponents of the defund movement. He held a … rally on the anniversary of 9/11 with Alexis McGill Johnson … a supporter of the defund movement. Fetterman campaigned last week with three Philadelphia City Council members who have endorsed measures to defund police departments. Fetterman’s appointee for secretary of Pennsylvania’s Board of Pardons has said she wants to “disarm the police.” The official, Celeste Trusty, has also called herself a “friend” and “buddy” of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Two of Fetterman’s campaign aides are murderers who spent 27 years in prison. They claim to be innocent, but the evidence they committed murder is overwhelming. They were caught in the getaway car, minutes after the crime. Right after their arrest, they were positively identified by witnesses as being two of the perpetrators. Fetterman aide Dennis Horton shot Samuel Alemo multiple times, killing him.

Fetterman’s support for left-wing Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner is troubling, given Krasner’s dishonesty, misconduct, and contempt for the rule of law.

Earlier this month, the “Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 162-38 Tuesday, with numerous Democrats siding with Republicans, to pass a resolution holding Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in contempt of state for refusing to comply with a subpoena,” reports WITF:

The resolution says Krasner showed “willful refusal” on multiple occasions to comply with the subpoena requesting materials related to Philadelphia’s rising crime rates…For months, multiple Republican House Reps. have been working to impeach Krasner….In a memo, three GOP reps said “unchecked violent crime in Philadelphia has reached a breaking point and one obvious cause is the dereliction of duty by District Attorney Krasner in the willful refusal to enforce Pennsylvania’s criminal laws in the City of Philadelphia.”

Meanwhile, Krasner was ordered to apologize for lies his office told a federal judge. Law and Crime reports:

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D), one of the first of a wave of progressive prosecutors elected on a criminal justice reform platform, made “false” claims that his office communicated with the family members of the victims of a man that he sought to free from death row, a federal judge found. According to a scathing 28-page memorandum opinion, the district attorney’s office wrongly suggested the relatives of the Pennsylvania couple killed by Robert Wharton supported his release from death row. In fact, U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg found, Krasner’s office did not even contact the sole surviving victim of the attack: Lisa Hart-Newman, who was an infant when Wharton killed her parents, turned off the heat, and left her inside the house to die.

As the judge noted, Hart-Newman “was ‘extremely disappointed to learn of the District Attorney’s stance and very troubled that he implied that the family approved of his viewpoint.’’”

Krasner’s office, which opposes the death penalty, sided with the murderer in his federal challenge to his death sentence, claiming his original lawyer failed to fully investigate and present evidence of his positive adjustment to prison. As the American Bar Association Journal notes, although an appeals court had

required a review of evidence in favor and in opposition to the death penalty, the district attorney’s office failed to advise the court about Wharton’s “violent escape from a city hall courtroom” and subsequent escape conviction, Goldberg said. That’s “possibly the worst type of prison adjustment,” he observed.

Department supervisors on the capital case review committee said they recommended conceding Wharton’s habeas petition without knowing about the escape attempt. But that admission “was curiously contrary” to an assistant supervisor’s assertion in court that the office was aware of Wharton’s escape conviction, Goldberg said.

As Law and Crime notes,

The DA’s office argued that they did not need to present a full investigation of the facts for and against Wharton, but Judge Goldberg noted that the Third Circuit [Court of Appeals] gave prosecutors precisely the opposite instruction….Finding Krasner’s office committed “egregious” and “exceptional” violations of the federal rules of procedure, the judge ordered the DA to “send separate written apologies” within 30 days of the ruling to victim family members Tony Hart, Michael Allen, Patrice Carr, and to victim Lisa Hart-Newman.

Krasner, a soft-on-crime district attorney, is himself a scofflaw, notes Big Trial: “Krasner, a persistent tax deadbeat, still owes the city $83,406.50 in back taxes.” But “unless he’s impeached, or somehow removed from office, Krasner….will continue to let armed and dangerous criminals off the hook. And they’ll continue to go out and hurt, maim and/or kill more innocent victims.”

Krasner fails to prosecute most serious crimes, even when arrests are made. As Big Trial notes, “the percentage of criminal cases withdrawn or dismissed by the D.A.’s office has gone from 28% in 2014 under former D.A. Seth Williams all the way up to 67% last year under D.A. Krasner.” Meanwhile, the murder rate in Philadelphia has risen, breaking record after record.

Krasner fired experienced prosecutors who were good at obtaining justice for crime victims, as soon as he took office. As Big Trial notes,

When he first took office back in January 2018, Krasner’s first official act was to fire 31 senior prosecutors…The new Philly D.A., a career criminal defense lawyer who had never prosecuted a traffic stop, replaced the most senior prosecutors in his office with a combination of social justice warriors, former public defenders and woke progressives fresh out of law school.

The result was that criminals remained free to kill innocent people. 21-year-old Jailene Holton was shot to death by a man that Krasner’s office failed to convict of rape despite overwhelming evidence, such as text messages. Krasner’s office assigned an inexperienced recent hire who had previously interned in a public defender’s office to prosecute the case. He bungled the case, so the defendant walked free. Seven months later, that man shot Jailene Holton to death in a rage.

As Big Trial notes, “for Krasner’s prosecutors, winning a conviction in court is a rare event. The D.A.’s own Data Dashboard shows how inept the D.A.’s office is at obtaining guilty verdicts under Krasner. According to the D.A.’s own stats, the percentage of guilty verdicts won at trial have gone from 17% of all criminal cases in 2014 under former D.A. Seth Williams, all the way down to just 2% of all criminal cases prosecuted last year under D.A. Krasner.”

The man who shot Holton — Anthony Nelson — did so an in indiscriminate shooting that showed deranged indifference to human life. Big Trial describes the shooting:

Nelson was among a group of men who got kicked out of the Philly Bar and Restaurant in Northeast Philadelphia…After the men got kicked out of the bar, Nelson, according to police, retrieved a gun from a vehicle. And then from less than 100 feet away, he allegedly fired some 15 shots at the front of the bar. Holton, who was inside the bar with friends as that night’s designated driver, was struck in the head….The murder of Holton was a tragedy that seasoned prosecutors said could have been prevented if the ADAs in Larry Krasner’s office knew what they were doing.

Under Krasner, Philadelphia’s murder rate spiked in 2020, hit an all-time high in 2021, then rose again in 2022. Philly has more murders than bigger cities like New York or Los Angeles. Yet when Krasner was asked “about the city’s crime surge,” he played it down, reports NBC News:

“We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness,” Krasner said. “We don’t have a crisis of crime. We don’t have a crisis of violence.”… Michael Nutter, a former Philadelphia mayor who is African American, erupted at Krasner, accusing him of dismissing the pain of Black residents who suffer from the violence.

Many violent crimes in Philadelphia are committed by criminals with long rap sheets. An “illegal Congolese alien had already racked up multiple convictions, including for sex crimes, but still hadn’t been deported and was walking” the “streets free to rape” a woman on a “Philadelphia train,” notes lawyer Ted Frank. “Keith Gibson had 29 felony arrests” and “nine convictions,” yet remained “on the streets at age 39 to murder six more people” in Philadelphia and Delaware.

The New York Times reported that “murder rose by almost 30% in 2020” in America, and is still “rising.” That was “the biggest rise in murder since the start of national record-keeping in 1960.” By contrast, the murder rate has been falling in most foreign countries, which (unlike the United States) have not gotten softer on crime in the past few years. In 2021, more than a dozen American cities set all-time records for murder. Murders are rising in Baltimore, where most killings are committed by people who previously were convicted of a serious crime, but were no longer in jail due to lenient sentences.

Progressive district attorneys such as Los Angeles’s George Gascón and San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin stopped charging violent juveniles — including killers — as adults, meaning that 17-year-old serial killers won’t be held beyond age 25. That will increase the juvenile crime rate: As Peter Moskos notes, “Recidivism among 16-year-olds went up” a lot when the age for being prosecuted in adult court was raised in New York. Carjackings by teens are already skyrocketing, as fewer teens get prosecuted in adult court or sent to prison. Yet Gascón dismissed criminal charges against many violent juveniles, giving teens who commit robbery, arson, and sexual battery “restorative justice” (a slap on the wrist) instead of prison time. He did this even though longer prison sentences reduce crime. A study found that when California imposed longer sentences for repeat offenders, that deterred many crimes from being committed.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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