Ignoring the Problems

It’s somehow appropriate that the Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, was chosen to give the counterpoint to Chris Cox’s piece in US News. In his call for a magazine ban & “assault weapons” ban, he uses a Philly example to justify the bans.

Since May 2006, eight Philadelphia police officers have been killed in the line of duty, six by gunfire. One, Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, was felled by an assault weapon.

We’ve covered Liczbinski’s killers here before, and it’s time to hold Mayor Nutter accountable. Before becoming mayor, Nutter was part of the City Council since 1992. During the time he has been in office, these murderers were repeatedly put back out onto the streets even as they racked up an impressive 26 combined pages of criminal offenses, the most of which were Nolle Prossed. As shown in his criminal record, if the City of Philadelphia had put the trigger man behind bars for only the firearms charges, he never would have been on the streets to kill Liczbinski in the first place.

Of course, Nutter won’t answer for why Philadelphia keeps putting these killers back out on the street every single day under his leadership. Instead, he hopes some op-eds in favor of more gun control will keep his constituents from asking real questions about his record on crime.

5 thoughts on “Ignoring the Problems”

  1. If I recall correctly, Sgt. Liczbinski of the Philadelphia PD was shot with an SKS rifle. As many of us here know, the SKS rifle is just a semi-automatic rifle equipped with a low-capacity and non-detachable magazine, and some of them are not even sold with the bayonet attached. Of course, since the SKS rifle looks scary to Michael Nutter and all the other anti-gunners in politics and the media, they will always insist on being ignorant and refer to it as being an “assault weapon” whenever they can.

  2. In his defense (if he deserved any), as mayor or a member of the city council, Nutter would have had litlle or no input into the prosecution decisions. Those are in the hands of the District Attorney, not the mayor or city council.

    The criticism is a valid one. Directing it at the mayor or council, as if they made that decision, is not.

  3. I agree with the fact that it’s not directly in his hands only to a certain extent. As a leader in the city, he hasn’t made any effort to get the DA’s office in line & prosecuting crimes. He may not have personally made a decision on whether or not to prosecute, but he’s been a high profile leader for long enough that he could have taken a stand by now. He hasn’t, and he continues to pass the buck. He is every bit to blame for continuing to ignore the problem while the city is overrun with criminals.

  4. Again, not to be picky, but I’m a former prosecutor and current defense attorney, though I’m not in Pennsylvania, so I may be wrong, but – aren’t the DA and the mayor and council different jurisdictions (one municipal, one county?)? And elected separately; i.e., the mayor does not appoint the prosecutor?

    Assuming that is so, were I the DA and the mayor called me up to urge “x” or “y” on a particular case, I’d have told him to find the nearest short pier and take a long walk.

    About all he could do as mayor is use the bully pulpit. Perhaps he should have done so, but it seems to me that if the jurisdictions are organized as I suspect they are (again, I’m not in Philly), he has exactly zero ability to influence the prosecutor’s decisions.

    His influence on ciy of Philly police practices, on the other hand, is quite direct.

  5. Philly is different than Pennsylvania. They are technically a county, but the entire county is the city, so it’s not really a matter of different municipalities.

    Yes, the DA is technically elected separately. However, the city politics basically dictates that they work closely with the other offices to keep the endorsements & support flowing both ways. (The city is run entirely by Democrats, so if someone decides to back another person in a primary, it’s kind of a big thing.)

    And another thing is that I wasn’t necessarily arguing that he should have picked up the phone on each and every arrest for these specific shooters only, but that he is complacent in a history of the DA’s office regularly letting perps walk without even trying a case. I’m sympathetic to the idea that a lot of cases are probably tough (as I think they should be since a prosecutor’s burden of proof should be extremely high), but when there’s a criminal record 15 pages long with dozens of gun crimes (plus others) and the office just doesn’t even bother to make an effort in any of them, it’s a sign of larger problems.

    I will also concede that the problem in deep in the system. Prosecutors have complained about the city’s judges who let criminals off too easily even when they are convicted. I would argue that’s one risk of having these criminals and their families serve as the voters who put the judges in their courtrooms. It’s not an easy problem to solve, but with 19 years serving as either Mayor or on the Council, Nutter has had the opportunity to speak out on the problems and he has opted not to do it.

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