Protesters speaking out against recent violence, drug use and a proposed supervised injection site marched through the city’s Kensington neighborhood Wednesday and confronted Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.
The demonstrators walked through Kensington during the late afternoon and were greeted by Krasner at the corner of Kensington and Allegheny avenues. Some of the protesters had harsh words for the DA, accusing him of not doing his job and letting criminals run wild on the street.
“He does not do his job at all,” one protester said in front of Krasner. “We have drug dealers. We have shootings. We have people dying in these streets and he's not prosecuting one person for it.”
Krasner listened to the protesters, telling them he heard their pain while also stating they were misinformed when it came to the job he was doing.
“They have been fed a lot of misinformation,” Krasner said. “The fact is we prosecute all cases of drug dealing. All of them. Not some of them. All of them. That’s what we do.”
Protesters also spoke on the city’s opioid epidemic, with Kensington often referred to as the epicenter of the crisis. A building on Hilton Street in Kensington was once being considered as a possible location for the city’s first supervised injection site. That’s no longer the case however.
“People don’t want to see people using in public,” one of the protesters said. “They are not putting Safehouse in a place where they need it the most.
Numerous court briefs in support of and opposition to the facility have been filed recently. Supporters include attorneys general for nine states while a group of U.S. senators and congressmen, including Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, are among the opponents.
Safehouse, the non-profit organization planning to open the injection site, also filed a response on June 29 to an appeal by U.S. Attorney Williams McSwain with Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Safehouse hit a wall shortly after its victory in front of U.S. Judge Timothy McHugh when its plan to open a facility in South Philadelphia fell through amid pushback from residents and local elected officials.
Then in June, McHugh issued an order putting his ruling on hold while the Third Circuit considered McSwain's appeal. That means no site can open for now.
“I think Philadelphians are more resilient,” a spokesperson for Safehouse wrote Wednesday. “Not withstanding the considerable challenges facing the city as a result of the pandemic and protests calling for police reforms, the opioid crisis continues. We need that service (of an injection site).”
Krasner told NBC10 Wednesday he supported a supervised injection site in Philadelphia.
"I support it being where ever there is a need," Krasner said. "The fact is where these have worked around the world, they have worked where they have been located within four blocks of the people who were using."