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Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has threatened to arrest and charge federal agents in the city for carrying out their duties, claiming that such actions would be “illegal.”
“My dad volunteered and served in World War II to fight fascism, like most of my uncles, so we would not have an American president brutalizing and kidnapping Americans for exercising their constitutional rights and trying to make America a better place, which is what patriots do,” Krasner, who was backed by socialist billionaire George Soros when he ran for office, said in a statement.
“Anyone, including federal law enforcement, who unlawfully assaults and kidnaps people will face criminal charges from my office,” the statement added, according to Bloomberg News.
The threat appears to stem from statements made by Democrats and their leaders claiming that President Donald Trump has released “secret police” and “stormtroopers” onto the streets of American cities.
Those charges are likely linked to a video that went viral earlier this month showing federal officers in Portland, Ore., detaining a black-bloc-clad man on the street and escorting him back to an unmarked van.
The Washington Post reported that the detained man was allegedly Mark Pettibone, 29, who said he was “terrified” when the officers approached.
“It seemed like it was out of a horror/sci-fi, like a Philip K. Dick novel. It was like being preyed upon,” he said.
The Post said that Pettibone was suspected of taking part in an attack on federal agents and federal property.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement identifying the agents as theirs and adding that they “had information indicating the person in the video was suspected of assaults against federal agents or destruction of federal property.”
The paper reported that Pettibone was detained, searched, taken to a federal courthouse where he remained in a holding cell.
“Two officers eventually returned to read his Miranda rights and ask if he would waive those rights to answer a few questions,” the Post noted, adding that he refused and was eventually let go.
As to Krasner, President Donald Trump has offered federal assistance to cities currently dealing with perpetual unrest and violence that began following the George Floyd incident but have morphed into anti-government protests.
He told Bloomberg in an interview that the Trump administration has not yet contacted him or other city officials to advise them of additional deployments of federal agents.
Krasner, a socialist ‘justice reformer’ who has implemented a series of controversial policies such as getting rid of bail, nevertheless noted that cooperation between city, state, and federal law enforcement is a common occurrence.
“There are certain areas of shared jurisdiction between federal and local authorities, and frankly, there’s a frequent collaboration between federal and local law enforcement on certain types of cases. Often it’s cases involving drugs and guns or explosives, for example,” he said.
“So there’s nothing unusual about feds being involved in law enforcement in the city. And there’s nothing unusual about collaborations between local and federal authorities. They’re going on right now in my office,” he added.
What is different now, however, “is the fluffy rhetoric about taking over cities. What’s unusual is the politicization of a normal relationship between federal law enforcement and local law enforcement. And what is really unusual is the apparently illegal Stormtrooper tactics that have been used by federal law enforcement in Portland.”
“It is not okay to fracture skulls with what they like to call non-lethal rubber bullets or tear gas canisters. It is not okay when there is no probable cause to jump out of a rental van and just requisition people off the street. That looks like a dictatorship. That looks like a kidnapping. That looks like a crime,” he added.
In its statement to the Post, CBP officials specifically stated there was probable cause for detaining Pettibone. Federal agency chiefs including CBP have also said they have instructed officers to strip self-identifying name tapes from their uniforms because activists have doxed dozens of them online, revealing the locations of their homes.
Asked specifically if he would charge federal agents, Krasner — whose successful 2017 campaign was funded with $1.45 million of Soros’ money — said he would.
“If we have clear probable cause for the commission of crimes, by anyone, including law enforcement, including federal law enforcement, we will prosecute that. We’re not going to tolerate any kidnappings and assaults going on in Philadelphia streets,” he said.
“We’re not going to tolerate showing up under the guise of making things safer and [instead] causing violence.”
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