District Attorneys Krasner, Rollins, Boudin Announce Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commissions to Confront Decades of Unaddressed Intergenerational Trauma
For District Attorney Krasner:
Jessica Brand, Jessica.Brand@wrencollective.com
For Grassroots Law:
Jennifer R. Farmer, Jenniferr@spotlightpr.org
Philadelphia (July 1, 2020) — Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Thursday joined colleagues in Boston and San Francisco to announce the creation of local Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation commissions in all three jurisdictions. Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and District Attorney Krasner will lead community-centered, localized efforts to address the harms of unaccountable, unjust, and racist policing and prosecution, with support from the Grassroots Law Project, led by activist Shaun King and and civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt.
In Philadelphia, people are still taking to the streets daily to demand an end to generations of racial injustice, unaccountability by the criminal legal system, and unnecessarily carceral approaches to poverty and inequitable access to health care and housing. For decades, the Philadelphia prosecutor’s office caused generational harm to communities by relying on officers known to lie, by hiding exculpatory evidence, and by overcharging cases and seeking excessive sentences.
The Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission will initiate a process for truth-telling, accountability, and healing for people who have been harmed by a criminal legal system that too often operated unjustly. We will start by listening to this community, and especially those impacted by police violence and prosecutorial misconduct, to develop policies and a structure that is responsive to people’s needs. We will then implement new ways of addressing injustice that allow people to give voice to a pained history and find healing to move forward.
“People desperately need a forum to have their voices heard and their harms redressed. Prosecutors have a critical role in helping communities find space to address past wrongs in new and unused ways, whether it is through exonerations or through alternative forms of restorative justice or truth and reconciliation,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said. “As a civil rights lawyer, I watched how this community suffered from law enforcement and prosecutorial overreach, and I know that these harms went unaddressed for many if not most. We cannot go back to fix that, but we can give a voice to those who experienced injustice for years.”
“Each Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission will develop processes and plans to allow persons who have experienced current and former instances of harm at the hands of law enforcement to raise concerns, share experiences, and achieve justice in a process that will be built with marginalized and oppressed groups at the center,” Suffolk County District Attorney Rollins said. “We will begin to pursue justice while giving District Attorneys an opportunity to demonstrate that we care about the wrongs of the past, and we want to prevent them in the future.”
“Prosecutors have a special responsibility to promote justice and reconciliation with the communities whose needs have historically been neglected,” explained District Attorney Boudin. “In San Francisco we are working to not only enact changes and create policies that hold police accountable going forward, but also to build trust with those who have been hurt by the lack of police accountability in the past. We are honored by the opportunity to be part of this initiative to heal the wounds created by police abuse, to empower impacted communities, and to seek real justice for all.”
The launch of the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission project was announced at a virtual press conference in which District Attorney Boudin, District Attorney Rollins, District Attorney Krasner, as well as Shaun King and Lee Merritt, all spoke. To access a recording of the press conference, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually.