Lawmakers from U.S. House hold field hearing on violent crime in Philadelphia

Federal lawmakers from the House Judiciary Committee held a field hearing on violent crime in Philadelphia Friday morning targeting the policies of District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Witnesses included the parents of fallen Temple University Police Sergeant Christopher Fitzgerald, the widow of Philadelphia Police Sergeant Jim O’Connor, Ceasefire PA, an attending physician from CHOP, a retired Philadelphia Police officer and more.

"The pain and trauma from our young son’s family will be felt for generations. My daughter-in-law Marissa is now a widow and must now raise their children as a single mother. This defendant broke a two-parent home, leaving our grandchildren fatherless," said Pauline Fitzgerald, mother of Sergeant Fitzgerald.

The House Judiciary Committee is led by Republican Chairman Jim Jordan representing Ohio’s 4th Congressional District.

During the hearing "Victims of Violent Crime in Philadelphia" Republican lawmakers were critical of Krasner alleging his policies embolden criminals.

Jordan confirmed during the hearing that the committee did not extend an invitation to Krasner.

"If they do something wrong that this, what did you call him? Let ‘em go Larry is going to let them go right," said Jordan of people committing crimes.


Terri O’Connor said her husband, Sergeant O’Connor, was killed at the hands of a repeat offender.

"My husband could still be here today if these men were prosecuted the way they should’ve been and behind bars," said O’Connor.

Democrats argue the Republican-led hearing is a political stunt. U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District called the hearing a sham, saying the committee’s time is better spent passing meaningful bills to prevent gun violence.

"Our interest is in what we can do to reduce gun violence and violence in general around the city. What’s working and what should Congress be supporting, as opposed to, apparently, the Chairman’s message was to come into town and give report cards to local officials," said Rep. Scanlon."

District Attorney Krasner provided remarks hours after the hearing was over, surrounded by supporters from the faith community and victims of gun violence.

"I was not able to watch this hearing. I was actually doing my job, which is to fight crime, but it appears my job is also to fight stupid," said Krasner. "I was not invited to speak despite asking for that invitation. What you are seeing there is political theater."

Politics may be in play, but the family of Sergeant Fitzgerald said they’ll keep fighting for justice in his name.

"Watch each video of his lifeless body on the ground and watch him get shot multiple times, not once, but six times while he’s laying on the ground is something that will live with me for the rest of my life," said widow Marissa Fitzgerald.

Chairman Jordan said Philadelphia is the fourth stop in a series of visits to cities around the country to address violent crime. Congresswoman Scanlon said all of the cities have been ones led by Democrats.