- Previously on "Philly DA"... - You got to get away from cash bail 'cause there's some people who just can't pay bail.
- This is bail reform 1.0.
There's gonna be a 2.0.
- We will not allow a price tag on our freedom.
- Phase one felt like a victory.
Ultimately, we want to end cash bail.
- They elected us.
Those are the people to whom we answer, and all great changes come from movements.
- You are not being fair.
I think you better go see what your job description was.
- Krasner, he's a loser.
All he wants to do is let everybody go.
[pensive music] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ - It is my pleasure to introduce District Attorney Larry Krasner.
- So I came here to shamelessly recruit.
You don't know you want to be a progressive DA until you see what a progressive DA's office is doing.
When the pirates take over the ship, you're gonna have to change some of the crew.
We're going to 25 law schools all over the country, California, Texas, the South, the Midwest, Northeast.
How you doing?
I want good lawyers.
[laughter] We are looking for people who want to be prosecutors but not if they think that the TV show "Law & Order" got it right.
We need people who will change the culture of these offices because culture will eat policy all day long.
That is the thing about being a district attorney.
You have the power to say, "No, I'm not gonna charge that."
"Yes, I am gonna charge that."
- For those of us who fought against the system for so many years, to knock your head against the wall every single day and then to find yourself in a situation where you can change the rules.
- In Philly, the number of future years of incarceration is half as much as it was before I was in office.
We divert more cases, offer shorter sentences.
We got ten innocent people out of prison.
We hired a criminologist who was afraid he'd catch on fire when he walked in the door.
I am not a person who believes that there should be a complete abolition of jails.
Some crimes merit incarceration and some of them don't.
But someone who has genuine compassion and knowledge in this field ought to be making those decisions, even though it might keep you up at night for the rest of your damn life.
- We're gonna need an army of lawyers like you to be able to do this.
- There is a group, nationally, of progressive prosecutors.
We are out there.
And this movement is real.
You don't just want to fight the good fight.
You want to win.
♪ ♪ Are we winning?
- I think so.
It's a new crop of folks, though.
It's only been a couple of years.
We just have to remind people, "We just got here."
I tell people all the time, I cannot dismantle a system that has existed for as long as it has in two months that gets to all of it.
Can't get to all of it fast enough.
- I mean, you must feel like you're doing something right when Donald Trump wants to wave his fist at you.
[laughter] - I feel a lot of pressure, particularly from those who want so badly for the system to be better and look at you for that.
How do you deal with that?
I usually think of the pressure coming from the people who don't want the system to be better.
[laughter] I don't want to-- - Do you?
- I feel more pressure coming from the opposition.
- I kind of feel like the people who want it to change, even if it's not changing as quickly as they would like or as completely as they would like, even if we have not abolished prisons yet, you know?
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.
- I feel more pressure from the opposition.
- I just assume they're gonna be opposition.
It's just--I think I assume that there's a certain element of folks that, no matter what you do, don't want you to do it.
It is the people who have been... and have been disenfranchised for so long, who have lost complete and utter faith, that I worry about the most because every setback feels like, "We knew it wasn't gonna change."
And you're like, "Oh, my God.
"Bear with me.
We're not gonna change things overnight."
- Say I... - I... - I believe... - I believe... - I believe that we will win!
- I believe that we will win!
- Now tell me what democracy looks like!
- This is what democracy looks like!
- Show me what democracy looks like!
- This is what democracy looks like!
- Show me what democracy looks like!
- This is what democracy looks like!
- Now make some noise!
[cheers and applause] - All right, all right.
Let's give it up to him.
Today's event is about listening.
And instead of having our elected and other officials in our city do the talking, they're gonna be listening on today.
It's we the people.
Make some noise!
- And you are in charge.
So today, we're here to hold a hearing about ending cash bail and pretrial detention.
Come on, we're gonna change the world.
A people's state.
[applause] [somber music] - My name is Veronica, and at the age of 52, I was incarcerated for the first time and held on cash bail for 90 days.
During those 90 days, I missed the birth of one of my grandchildren.
The law claims that you are innocent until proven guilty.
But by holding me pretrial, the criminal injustice system had already decided I was guilty.
- 10%, or $250 cash, would have enabled me to bail out or be free.
- It might as well have been a million, 'cause the 200 and some dollars I had, the police took it.
- I'm in a regular $10-an-hour job.
I couldn't afford that.
- If I am too dangerous to be let out on the street, I don't think that $5,000 later, I get less dangerous to get out on the street.
[applause] - Right now, it was really fitting that we give our panelists a turn to speak.
And if you could keep it to two sentences, that would be great.
- Come on, Larry.
[laughter] - Stand up, Larry.
- I really just got to do two sentences?
So I think that, number one, we do need to end cash bail.
We have always needed to end cash bail.
[applause] Number two, I intend to push, with the First Judicial District-- because the judges are the ones who make the decisions-- a narrative which tells a true story.
And the only way to do that is with data.
And we can use that story with the public, with the press.
And if we're able to do that effectively, then we will have a compelling argument that's gonna get us somewhere.
- Come on.
- Thank you.
- Larry Krasner was able to craft this phase one of bail reform.
And that became, like, the first step towards us getting to a process to actually end cash bail.
We're grateful that we have someone to move the ball forward.
But please do not think that phase one is the end-all, be-all or that we claim it as a victory.
We need the Office of the DA, Larry Krasner, to take a bold step forward to end cash bail as a practice in Philadelphia.
[quiet music] ♪ ♪ - So for some reason, when I'm nervous about meetings, I just print a lot of things, so I printed a lot of things.
You and I have talked about this before.
Based both on your work as an office and the work of advocates on the outside, we have reduced the jail population by 42.7% as of yesterday.
However, what we have many of the magistrates doing, even in the wake of your important reform, is setting bail.
We bailed out a pregnant woman for $50.
We bailed out mothers-- - We bailed out mothers who were there for 14 months.
We're still locking people up on bails.
- Well, I'll tell you, you know, one of the interesting things about the study of our bail policies was that, while, generally, these... bail commissioners, magistrates, whatever you call them--while generally, they were doing what we wanted on the misdemeanors, they did not do what we wanted on 2/3 of the felonies.
That seems to be where they drew the line.
- That is completely unacceptable.
- If we can't statutorily eliminate bail in Pennsylvania, then what we can do is take a version of our bail policy, which perhaps identifies additional offenses, and we can try to work with a presumption that they get out.
- Presumption of release.
That would clear out so many people from the arraignment system, from the jails.
Like, I remember deeply, the time when I was arrested, and you were my attorney, and I was sitting in the jail, and there was a woman who was screaming the entire time we were there.
She was sent back on a bail.
I don't remember how many thousands of dollars.
That wouldn't happen anymore.
We wouldn't have to do that.
I think that it's about trying to figure out culturally how we prove it that most human beings, even at the highest levels, an aggravated assault, most human beings, if we let them go, will come back and won't get arrested again.
I want to win.
I want humans to be out of cages.
That's why we didn't take a purely abolitionist position.
We want to support you as you're engaging in these deep questions with the court.
- You know, there could be some really constructive stuff here.
I just don't know to what extent the system is able to--to change this much.
But we will--I mean, over time, it is.
- It's not easy.
But I worry that, God forbid, like when you retire or go to a beach, we get someone else in here.
So I really think this is the highest stakes possible.
[ambient electronic music] [background chatter] - We're running a little behind today.
♪ ♪ - Thank you.
- And just grab a seat here.
- You're a former police officer.
- Yeah, I was.
- Where were you a police officer?
- Prince George's County, Maryland.
- Tell us about that.
- It was--I would say, I definitely don't regret having had the experience.
It eventually kind of got to a point where I felt that things were being asked of me that I really, frankly, just wasn't really comfortable with doing, and so I started actually looking at alternative careers.
And so I-- - But you see yourself as a trial lawyer?
- I do, absolutely.
- So you've seen court from the point of view of a law enforcement officer.
- What was the big difference, if any?
- As prosecutors, our role is in some ways to be kind of a check on the police department.
One of the most eye-opening things was to get a police report and immediately be able to start reading between the lines of, you know, in my experience, this doesn't sound like what probably should have been done.
It's problems with the reasonable suspicion, the probable cause, there's some issues here.
At the same time, you can't have an antagonistic relationship to where every time they come in, you're looking at each other sideways and you're arguing and, you know, you put them on the stand and the case falls apart.
So I think really just reassuring them that none of this is personal, that the whole point of this is to achieve justice.
- What should we, as African American men, be doing as prosecutors that's different from, perhaps, others who are in the same field?
- Definitely, there's a lot of pressure from the African American community because a lot of times, there's this view that-- - We're locking up brothers.
- And sisters.
- And, you know, why are you with them and you're the enemy, and all these types of things.
And I think all prosecutors should actually be doing it, but I think, especially as an African American male, you really have a special duty to make sure that you're not just moving the assembly line along but something that can be done that maybe doesn't necessarily have to involve this defendant going to prison.
You really have to take that extra moment to really... examine what it is you're doing.
- Any questions of us?
So, I guess, obviously, the elephant in the room would be where do you see the relationship in terms of the office and the police department moving forward?
- It's about communication, about what's going on, and we're looking for people like yourself who might have an interest in working here to be a part of that kind of communication.
[phone ringing] [indistinct chatter] - Is a RSP always graded as a third degree felony?
- It's all relative to whether or not you have a prior.
- Oh, wait.
Here you go.
- And this person has no priors.
- Some hieroglyphics I don't understand.
Is that English?
I don't know what that says.
Failed to appear.
- UUA with RSP.
Unauthorized use of an automobile and receiving stolen property.
- EWOC, endangering the welfare of a child.
- I was thinking "Star Wars."
[laughter] - This is my first prostitution case.
I don't think we're even prosecuting this case.
- At least they didn't give her a PIC charge for this like they're doing in Allegheny County.
- What are they giving a PIC charge for?
- For the condom.
Possession of an instrument of crime.
- Oh, my God.
- Isn't that ridiculous?
♪ ♪ - It's long days, but work I can actually get behind, whereas, when I started at the department, it was just like, "What are you actually doing to the community?"
I think, as a Black officer, that was something I really wrestled with.
There were definitely days where I just dreaded going to work.
I'm putting on my uniform, and I'm thinking, "I don't want to go in."
You make these arrests, and it's painful because, on the one hand, you almost feel like you're contributing to the problem in a way because you're locking up another young Black male for a felony that's gonna keep him from voting, that's gonna keep him from getting a job, that's gonna send him to a prison where he's gonna learn to become a better criminal.
But the same time, you still have this job to protect the community.
It really is the situation where you almost feel like you're caught between these two different worlds.
Some of my friends from law school look it as, if you have any role in the criminal justice system, then you're part of the problem.
Bottom line is, those positions, they're gonna be filled with somebody.
And if it's not people who look at the role of prosecution with a respect for the power that it entails, it's gonna be filled with people who look at it as, "I'm here to put people in prison."
So if I'm in this position, then I could be addressing the things that have brought people into the system.
[pensive music] ♪ ♪ - A rash of shootings will be the subject of an emergency meeting in Southwest Philadelphia tonight.
Three teenagers were shot in the same neighborhood between Sunday night and Monday morning.
- We've now had 355 homicides in Philadelphia in 2019.
That's two more than last year.
- So this meeting is about a call for action.
We got to save our kids.
- We're gonna be targeting prolific offenders, the most violent offenders in your neighborhood.
So we're asking you to support us.
So if you see the police out there make an arrest and you see who they're arresting, if they're the problem child in your neighborhood, please don't give the police a hard time.
And I will guarantee you this-- you're hearing it from my mouth-- that the police will not violate your rights.
I will make sure of that.
- There's some impression that, if you're in a neighborhood or the hood, that you don't like cops.
So let's stand and give the cops a round of applause, please.
[somber music] ♪ ♪ - All right, everyone.
Why don't we get started?
- A number of crimes that are on the crime status sheet, they are becoming more serious.
And I'd like to understand a little bit about what the DA's plan, and probably in concert with the police department's plan, is for security overall and for the policing of the area.
- We have some different ideas about criminal justice.
I think there's been a lot of attention on the reform.
And I think that's good because I think, ultimately, the system will work better with the kind of changes that we're looking for.
But it doesn't mean that those serious, violent crimes are not being prosecuted, particularly when it comes to shootings, when it comes to homicides.
So we're looking to spend less time on the small stuff and more time on the big stuff.
- Good evening.
Thank you for coming.
We have this town hall format to address a recent increase in crimes in our South Philadelphia neighborhoods.
- We have a DA that doesn't care.
The no cash bail policy doesn't work, and neither does his ideas of not charging for quality of life crimes so he can say crime is down and it's not.
- My kids are afraid to walk from 2700 block of Smedley to my mother's at 2800 if she needs sugar or milk.
- The police do their jobs, lock everybody up, and Krasner lets them out.
My name is Lyandra Retacco.
I'm from the District Attorney's Office.
And I didn't want to interrupt or say anything to the people who were speaking 'cause I want to hear you.
- [indistinct] [crowd murmurs] What I can say-- - Please let her speak.
- Their hands are tied because of you guys.
Their hands are tied.
They can't do nothing because of you guys.
They hate your policies.
They hate them.
And they're paid to protect them.
- Let's take a step back 'cause this is not what we're here for.
We want to be here because we care about the city too.
And we want to be able-- [angry shouting] I'm just asking you to take a step back.
Sit down and shut up, would you?
- Hey, hey, hey, hey.
No, no, no, no.
[applause] - You can't defend yourself.
- Hi, Reuben.
- Welcome to the oval table.
- The oval table top?
- When I see stories coming out in the press around extraordinary, tragic acts of harm and violence, how in an environment where we've passed the murder rate of last year, where we have the highest rate since 2007, how do we lift up the need, in fact, for more decarceration?
- Phase one has been really exciting for all of us.
We'd love to dig deeper into phase two and what that can mean in terms of expansion.
- Lyandra and I spend three hours a week listening to police captains or community groups saying... - Or elected officials.
- "Y'all are not doing anything."
Oh, yeah, I forgot about them.
People think there's a sense of lawlessness because the only narrative that's being carried is because there's no bail, it means we're not charging people.
The only thing you should be doing is detaining people on pretrial detention, with or without the cash bail.
- This is one of the biggest problems.
I don't care what you've been charged with, terrible aggravated assault, you're still innocent.
There's a serious problem with cross-racial identifications.
And the more serious the charge, the more likelihood that you're gonna have innocent Black people sitting in prison for something they didn't do because it's a terrible charge.
But I feel like this fundamentally gets lost in that initial conversation about bail.
All of those charging documents are just that, charges.
They're nothing else.
That was a-- - Yeah, yeah.
- No, no.
- We agree.
- But like, to the victim of the crime or the community at large, we say that repeatedly, and they're like, "Yeah.
I don't care."
- Bail is supposed to be about coming to court.
It's not supposed to be about giving the community a break and-- - And it's not supposed to be preemptive punishment.
- Exactly right.
But in order for us to have that conversation, we have to force it.
- And we're kind of stuck in the middle of, we agree we don't want someone to have a cash bail or be detained for reasons other than immediate harm to others or themselves or flight risk.
But at the same time, we are being held responsible for having interventions created.
And we don't think that it should be criminal justice interventions.
We're trying to change that conversation, and we could really use some support on the call is not just for us to end cash bail.
But the call is for public health officials to step up and take more responsibility for public health problems.
- I mean, if we're serious about replacing cash bail, we need something to replace it with.
That's the problem.
- We don't have anything to replace it with.
Talking about #EndCashBail right now, totally honest, I don't think we're ready.
And it scares me.
[light music] - I was incarcerated as a juvenile.
So I was no stranger to these systems because they became normalized in my environment.
People don't need to be saved.
They need to be empowered.
What people need is access to resource and a voice and a decision-making process that impacts their lives.
Larry kept his word.
He began to have these monthly meetings with us where we bring different issues to the table.
I don't remember any DA making himself accessible to the community, particularly around ideas and decision making.
We were looked at as the people throwing rocks at the government.
So this is unique in the history of Philadelphia.
[upbeat music] ♪ ♪ - Since we put in the bail plan, it's been a 100-person reduction every week.
And that's not gonna last forever.
- Well, here's the problem.
If you're gonna ask for a lot of money over what the mayor is saying, you need to say, "This is what this buys us."
So your problem is gonna be, you're gonna show people savings.
But if the other folks don't capture that value, then it can't be reinvested to what you want.
- We're doing 200 resentencings of juvenile lifers.
Some of these people, under the last administration, were being offered 65 years, which is not an offer at all.
The vast majority of them were going to say some other number, like 30.
If you are saving... - [sneezes] - Bless you.
- 35 years' worth of $42,000, you're talking about one person and $1 1/2 million in savings.
You start taking those numbers and multiplying them out.
I mean-- - They don't care about any of that.
- They don't care about $100 million?
You are talking philosophy, and they are talking, "Today, what is in my bank account?"
That's all they're interested in.
- Because we're moving the cases along more quickly, the backlog is reduced.
The period of time from commencement of a case until release from jail has shortened from an average of 120 days to 90 days.
You know, I mean, does that do it?
We might have to do some napkin calculations because just a reduction in courtrooms.
- If you can't write it in a small eighth grade newspaper, no one's gonna understand it.
♪ ♪ - Our next department is District Attorney's Office.
- First of all, we have a terrible issue around shootings.
We have a terrible issue around homicides.
This is what keeps the police commissioner and me, and, I'm sure, all of you, up at night, but the time to tell a simplistic story about how bad people just commit crime, and it's got nothing to do with education, it's got nothing to do with poverty-- that time is over.
What we are talking about here is a systemic problem, and we cannot arrest our way out of it.
Yes, handcuffs are a part of what we have to do.
But the reality is, if you're gonna spend all of your money on supervision and incarceration, then you're not gonna have it for public schools, you're not gonna have it for drug treatment, and you're not gonna have it for the services in place so that when people are not in custody, there is something to do.
If the state is not gonna have to spend a fortune to put people in jail for too long, then they should be able to reinvest it in Philadelphia and things that prevent crime.
- The system of justice, whether we like it or not, has been and is based on roles.
And the role of the prosecutor is to present vigorous prosecution.
That's how our system works.
I'm not really that interested, quite frankly, as a primary issue of saving funds because, to me, the prosecutor is there for public safety reasons, saving lives, preventing physical harm, danger to the population... [voice fading] - Big-city, ward machine politics, elected officials, blah, blah, blah.
You can't do anything.
A lot of what is happening is nothing but institutional resistance.
We have a systemic failure when it comes to bail.
We need to have funding of programs for people who are released without paying bail but who have significant issues, be they mental health issues, homelessness, extreme poverty.
Some of these other law enforcement entities, they have all kinds of power reasons and all kinds of money reasons not to want that reform.
A lot of what they do is rooted in some terrible history.
So we, the outsiders, need to go inside of government, we need to take it over, we need to make it work for us.
Part of my hesitation is I also know... that there's danger in holding that power, that there's danger that you become what you fought against.
♪ ♪ Mmm.
- Hey, Krasner.
How are you?
- Good morning.
- Just don't make it colder in here, like-- - Oh, sorry.
- You're really--all right.
It's your room.
It's-- - The thing that I struggle with, for bail and having a real discussion about getting rid of cash bail is I don't know what we replace it with.
So I want to try to figure out if we can make some recommendations about how to do bail 2.0.
- So they're talking about bringing in all cases, what is the cutoff point?
- $100,000 and less.
Attempt murders, guns, all of them, I'm willing to look at them.
I'm just not going to have the presumption that I'm looking for ways to get you out.
I'm gonna be saying no a lot more.
And we're gonna be tracking it.
- We all agree that if you are dealing drugs, get caught, and then get bail, then go deal some more drugs, that's a bad thing?
- But so then the question becomes, what are we comfortable with or if--'cause yes-- - The idea is not to let everybody out.
That's not what they've done in D.C. ever.
They actually keep a lot of people.
They keep 12%.
- And then for the ACLU type people, for the people on the left, I don't think that I, at least, am gonna be able to inform the discussions about bail for the Bail Coalition for at least a couple of months at best.
While we get a sense of what we are comfortable with as far as pretrial conditions that aren't bail like they have in D.C. - We do need to have a 2.0.
Even if the only thing our 2.0. does is says we got it right or it says we shouldn't have let this group of people out.
I mean, we have to be looking at that, too, looking at--we have to be looking at where people who should have been in get out, right?
- But I think we should have some kind of mental deadline.
The ideal time, I think, would be-- assuming that things go well, would be when we're seeing that, you know, crime is dropping consistent with the normal fall cycle.
And so we wouldn't be subject to immediate slamming politically or in the press because we're in the middle of a spike.
That would be the best time to roll something out.
[somber electronic music] ♪ ♪ - Okay.
We did phase one.
Is there any updates on phase two?
So we still need to do more to determine what we think phase two should be.
And adding additional charges, whether it's more misdemeanors or felonies as well.
- Phase two is way harder.
Like, the low-hanging fruit from our perspective is mostly gone.
And then we're talking about crimes that involve harm to others or guns.
And those are hard conversations to have.
Doesn't mean we're not heading in that direction, but ideally, we'd be heading in that direction and we'd have more services hooked up at the moment of arraignment.
- And so we're balancing a lot of things here including making sure that suddenly somebody doesn't get released and shoot somebody.
And that's not an excuse.
- The activists who believe that attaching a dollar amount to someone's freedom is evil, I get that.
I understand that completely.
But that's the system that we're working in right now.
- There's lots of room for improvement in pretrial services.
For example, day reporting centers, places where people can go to check in during pretrial rather than being in jail.
Another example is GPS electronic ankle monitors.
We don't have that capacity in Philadelphia.
Our only tool now is send someone to jail or not.
- If there's no condition or combination of conditions that can assure the safety of the community, you got to hold that guy pretrial.
It is a responsibility that we took on when we said that we were gonna be the District Attorney's Office.
- The end terms of bail of phase two.
This is the list that we're putting forward.
All quality of life offenses, all drug charges, all misdemeanors, criminal trespass, burglary, any instances where the only charge is a firearm charge.
- This is a very reasonable list.
I think anytime I say all anything to my boss, he gets nervous.
The all misdemeanors, including simple assault, is going to be problematic.
- Larry, let's end cash bail in Philadelphia today through the power of your office.
And if the judges impose it, that's something different.
But we need to hear that commitment from Larry.
Now he is a politician 'cause now he does have to worry about public opinion.
So I think some of the decisions he's made has reflected that.
- We are reviewing the policies and trying to figure out what steps we can take.
- I don't think it's something that would happen fast.
And it has the potential, at least, to be controversial.
And so I just don't know.
- It seems like we're having the same conversation we had three times.
And you're kind of saying the same things you said three meetings ago.
For me, personally, I've been through this whole system.
I've been through the foster care system.
I've been through the prison system.
I've been charged as an adult.
I did 18 months for a case I didn't commit and then the case got thrown out.
My family's been destroyed by these systems.
And so for me to come up in here and act like it's not an urgency, that's not real for me.
Y'all have made progress.
But the thing is, we need to be clear about what steps are gonna happen next so that we can know what's going on, so that we can feel good about this.
And I don't feel good about this.
I'm gonna be real with y'all.
- I understand your frustration.
Trust me that I feel it as well.
But we're at an impasse at this point for this thing because I don't want to just say something to placate you and be wrong.
And I don't know how long it's gonna take.
I hate it.
It's hard to reconcile that the people who I worked so closely with and shoulder to shoulder with see me as the enemy now, see us as the enemy now.
But that is also part of what we took on when we came here.
- Me being in a room with people that don't have experience of being in the system but work in the system and have a lot of power makes me kind of agitated.
You might get the right person that doesn't initially want to make the change.
But who knows, some people do stick to their guns and fight for change.
A lot of people don't.
A lot of people, their momentum starts to drift and they start to fight less and less.
I don't rely on any of these systems.
I don't trust them.
It's really hard.
[distant laughter] [uneasy music] ♪ ♪ [indistinct radio chatter] - You got it.
That overlaps that.
How's it going?
How's it going?
Nice to meet you.
- Pernell, good to meet you.
- How you doing?
Good to meet you.
- We get everything here, PCP, crack, coke.
Some blocks have it all.
You know, try to hold down those corners.
Right here, Pernell.
This is the specific street that our captain asked us to stay in the area of and patrol.
- [indistinct shout] - Mm-hmm.
- He just turned, looked away from us, and yelled.
- There it is.
[man yelling] - Something in Spanish, but basically, "The cops are coming."
Hundreds of people enter this block to buy drugs every day with those kids out there playing in the street, just as you saw.
- So it's not just about the drugs.
It's about what comes along with the drugs.
You know, the violence, the gunfights.
The same people get in and out of jail.
And they go right back to where they're hanging out and there's no repercussions.
We lock people up, and then we see these cases just disappear.
- Never get, like, one court notice for them.
- As an officer, to me, that was always one of those frustrating things.
It's just like, "Oh, it's the bad stop."
And then they hang up the phone and you're like, "Wait, wait.
What's wrong with the stop?"
So when, you know, the assistant district attorney gets a case, they look at it, they're like, "Okay, well, I feel like this is an issue.
So I'm just gonna drop it."
And they don't say anything to the officer.
Because the police officer thinks that he's done a good job or a good stop or arrest.
And then, when it disappears, who knows?
But there's still the ultimate goal of putting the bad guy in jail.
[indistinct radio chatter] [siren wails] We just got a call about somebody ODing in a basement.
[suspenseful music] [engine revving] ♪ ♪ - I think a lot of people still haven't realized that the justice system isn't gonna be able to solve a lot of these problems.
Police, prosecutors a lot of times are charged with being social workers and going into these situations.
But there really just isn't time to deal with problems that have had weeks, months, years, decades to form.
- You got somebody overdose here in the basement?
- A lot of people in the system aren't there because they're evil or they're bad people.
They're just there because of their circumstances.
Until we address those social problems that we have in this country, we're not gonna be able to fully get the criminal justice system on track.
- Is that what I'm coming to understand here?
- Well, you know, that's our mistake.
- Hey, all right.
Have a good day.
- It's such a pain in the neck to deal with reimbursement.
- How you doing, sir?
- How are you?
- Pernell Jackson.
Good to meet you, sir.
- Nice to meet you, Pernell.
- Yes, sir.
- You're really short.
- Just a little bit.
- You're killing it in law school.
- I'm trying to.
I'm trying to, sir.
- Well, you're succeeding in killing it.
- Thank you, sir.
- So tell me about going to college, being a police officer, tell me about that.
- Yes, sir.
I was in college when September 11th actually occurred.
So I finished the degree, the wars were still going strong.
I ended up enlisting and joined the Army, spent a year in Afghanistan.
I think, when I started to see some of the things that were going on in terms of police departments in the country, especially with people of color, there was really a desire to pursue that career in the sense of, I can be the person who can do it the right way, not just locking people up, but actually doing the job the way it's supposed to be done.
- So you do have a really interesting three-dimensional background in this stuff.
What are we doing wrong?
- As far as criminal justice, sir?
- Well, what is this office doing wr-- I know you haven't been here long, you may not know everything we're doing.
But is there anything you know that we are doing that you think we are doing wrong?
- I don't know if there's a way to reach out in terms of the police department.
And I believe there is, I think, some kind of training in terms of what the office does with the police officers.
But I think if there were a way to provide a little more education, just the basics as far as reasonable suspicion, probable cause, I think that's something that will help, because, from what I've seen, there's still a lot of frustration with a lot of officers when they come over, and there's something that they've done that they feel they've done their job.
And I mean, not something that they've maliciously-- - I understand.
People who thought what they were doing was okay, they weren't out to game the system, they show up in court, and then some DAs who actually know a little bit about probable cause and search and seizure say, "Hey, you can't do that, so I can't do the case."
- They're frustrated because no one told them they were doing anything wrong.
They thought they were following the rules.
I hear that.
It was great talking to you, Pernell.
- Thank you very much for your time, sir.
- It was great talking to you.
A real pleasure.
- Good to speak to you.
- What's up, Larry?
- Nice to meet you.
- You all right with me.
- Well, good.
I appreciate that.
- Hey, you all right?
- I appreciate that.
- Hey, you all right with me.
- I have to have a meeting with the bail funds about targeting emails at Lyandra over cash bail decisions.
- What are they doing?
- They had a weekend campaign where they phone called and emailed Lyandra complaining about cash bail being set on someone with what they believe is just a simple possession case.
But I would like to try to figure out a more effective way for them to... - Brings things into our attention.
- Give feedback and--right, as opposed to have it be, like, a Twitter thing.
- An angry activist thing.
- Why don't we just have a meeting with them real quick, like half an hour meeting and just say, "What are you guys gonna do?
"Here's what we're doing.
Let's be nice.
"We know it's urgent for you guys.
We'll be as responsive as humanly possible."
- We just had like three meetings with them.
- There's only a few points they can target in the entire system, and we're clearly one of them.
And we're saying we're cooperative to the degree where we're permitted to be.
- I think the point is, like, if you're gonna be advocating to end cash bail, then you have to be building up the alternative to it.
So, like, can we release people to your--your recognizance?
Will you be responsible 24 hours for these individuals?
- Do you think they would?
- But that's at least something to ask them.
You know, it's, like, that's a real thing.
- I think that we've been patient, like, as a working group, understanding all of the different challenges of us as crazy-ass leftists or whatever.
But we do want to say that we're not taking off the table for ourselves the idea of publicly saying that we don't think that you guys have done enough.
Like, if we put out statements saying you guys haven't done enough because, Larry, when we worked, engaging with you as you were running, when we worked engaging with you on the transition, that was something you asked us to do.
You asked us to do that.
And I just want to remark that's something we might end up doing.
First of all, I would never limit whatever you want to do in public.
You know, our decisions have consequences.
Your decisions have consequences.
Do whatever you think is appropriate.
- I think, aren't you also just concerned that, you know, the cases where the amount is really high, that your district attorneys are asking for?
- Of course I am.
But one thing that would be extremely helpful to me and to us is not--is to add another layer to what you're doing.
Not simply to say, "Look, here's "one of your 25 cases where you have a presumption, "it's not an absolute, it's a presumption, "that you're not gonna seek bail "but you sought bail.
Give us that information.
"But give us the other thing, "which is did the representative "of the DA's Office in the room say why?
"Did they say, you know, "'This is a domestic violence case where blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.'"
Then we can much more rapidly identify violations of our policy and also areas where we could improve the policy.
- If a reason is not given, we cannot write it down.
- Here's the other thing where I'm going to push back a little--wait, wait, wait a minute.
- I'm not going to be called to the carpet on every single case.
We can't be.
- One of the things we should think about is the people that's primarily been bailed out from both bail funds, if you look at the records, most of the people, the failure to appear is very low, most of them-- - 3%.
- Most of those case are being dismissed, if not outright, you know, just beaten.
- So I think it bodes well for you to consider, you know, the work that's being done by the bail funds, because if the goal is to get to justice, that's actually what's happening.
- I think there's no question that the work that the bail funds have done is wonderful, absolutely.
But we're at a point now where the next step is gonna be even harder than the steps that we've gotten to for here.
And we need to figure out what our roles are here.
And if we've reached a point where we can't collaborate anymore--I don't want that to be the case.
But if we reached a point where we can't collaborate anymore because there's stuff that needs to be built outside of this conversation, okay, I don't want that to be the case.
But we've got to--but when we're talking about resetting the table, that's what we're trying to figure out.
- You know, if you need to say something, fine, you do whatever you need to do.
We're gonna use our legal experience, legal training, legal skills, experience in the field, and we know that you are gonna use your experience as well.
It is important that we're able to talk directly and express frustrations to each other.
I know you're frustrated.
And I respect that.
We need to be able to communicate like that in order to keep this going.
- I have a lot of major personal pride and, like, love and respect for Larry and for everyone on that team.
But it's because of the work that we need to do.
It's because of, like, the life's work.
But the thing that gives us the power to sit at that table is what we can do in the street, I think.
- That's what got Larry into office, you know, to be honest.
And that's what people said to him when he got into office.
I know, there are friends of mine up against the law, and that's what we said to Larry, just like, "Oh, yeah.
"We will be outside of your house, picketing, if you mess up."
You know, so this is like a reminder that that's what got you there.
This is what's gonna be behind you and also pushing you throughout your tenure.
And this is what you'll have to answer to as well.
So for me, it was just, like, less of a threat and more of a reminder of, like, who you're sitting at the table with.
- Oh, no.
- I don't know what to do.
- I was like, "What is this?"
- One, two, three.
- Go team!
[talking indistinctly] - We came here to bring change.
And we did not come here to bring glacial change or to be patient with a system that should have been fixed a long time ago.
The activist has a prophetic voice.
They articulate our highest aspirations.
You are always gonna have some people who think you're not far right enough, others who think you're not far left enough.
Progressive prosecution is different than what some people imagine it to be.
Today, there will be 100 new cases in the city of Philadelphia, and a lot of them will be very violent cases and will be serious cases, and something has to be done about them now.
♪ ♪ I have spent a lot of time in jails, not as someone who was a defendant, but as someone who was hearing the life stories of people.
The work tells you a lot about what's possible and what is not possible.
Is it possible for us to eliminate prisons and jails in my lifetime in the United States?
Is it possible for us to reimagine them in a way that is rehabilitative instead of punitive?
Yes, it is.
It takes time.
And you have to work with the art of the possible instead of simply expecting absolutely everything to be your way right now.
Movements progress, and they change.
The younger generation steps on the shoulders of the last generations and say, "This is how you could have done better.
You didn't do enough.
You should have done more."
That's how it's supposed to be.
[electronic music] ♪ ♪ [birds chirping] [indistinct chatter] - But the other part is like, I'm sure there's gonna be things that... ♪ ♪ - How you doing today?
- This is a very significant day for you.
It's the first day of your new career and the beginning of your professional life.
But it's also a very significant day for us.
You are the first class of new DAs that was 100% selected by us.
You are each here because you wanted to be in this DA's office, not just any prosecutor's office, but you wanted to be here in Philadelphia.
Mark this day on your calendar as one of the most important days of your life.
It certainly is one of mine as well.
[applause] ♪ ♪ - There are moments in history that are bigger than all of us.
And participating in that moment without knowing the outcome is the important part.
- There has been this phenomena of elevating the progressive prosecutor as the savior of the justice system.
We are not saviors.
We are not saviors.
- The attorneys will now be sworn in as assistant district attorneys.
- We've been doin' this work for decades.
We're always trying to undo 500 years of racism.
The only thing I can say is, we have a lot more work to do.
- All rise.
- We can't learn all the lessons here in the Krasner administration.
All we've done is cracked the ice and opened things up a little bit.
- Raise your right hand and repeat after me.
I do solemnly swear or affirm... all: I do solemnly swear or affirm... - I will support the Constitution of the United States... all: I will support the Constitution of the United States... - And the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
all: And the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
I will maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers.
I will not counsel or maintain any suit or proceeding which shall appear to me to be unjust with truth and honor, and will never seek to mislead the judge or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law.
I will never reject the cause of the defenseless or oppressed.
[applause] - Hey, hey, hey.
- He was the first person we hired.
- Did you know that?
- I didn't know.
I didn't know.
I was trying to get there.
I was trying to get there, though.
- He was the very first person we hired for this class.
And he's just outstanding.
And we're looking forward to his bright future.
- Thank you.
What exactly is the system here to do?
We're the ones to say, "This is what prosecution is going to be."
I'm just not sure what we'll see when we get to the other side.
But I mean, certainly, it's gonna be different than it was.
- If you want to talk about when is this movement gonna get to the point where it's won major battles, in my mind, it will be another 20 years.
And this will be one step on what is a long path to get there.
[stirring music] ♪ ♪ - [chanting] Say his name!
- George Floyd!
- Say his name!
- George Floyd!
- Say his name!
- George Floyd!
- Say his name!
- George Floyd!
- Say his name!
- George Floyd!
- Say his name!
- George Floyd!
- Say his name!
- George Floyd!
- ♪ Hang on every day, yeah hey ♪ ♪ Hang on in there, mama ♪ - Protestors took action tearing down memorials to the country's racist history.
- The city of Philadelphia has removed the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo overnight.
Many Philadelphians say that the statue represents racism and police brutality.
- It sends a message that change is coming.
- ♪ Hang on every day ♪ ♪ Hang on, mama, mama ♪ ♪ Hang on every day ♪ ♪ We got to ♪ ♪ Hang on every day ♪ ♪ Yeah, hang on, hang on baby ♪