PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Federal prosecutors announced charges in two Philadelphia gun cases Monday, saying local prosecution of the men was too lenient.
U.S. Attorney William McSwain announced federal charges against the two men at a news conference outside federal court in Philadelphia and outlined a list of 10 other cases that he said Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner had mishandled with lenient prosecutions or “sweetheart” plea deals.
The charges and the news conference came on the eve of a Philadelphia visit by President Donald Trump, who has been campaigning and running ads in Pennsylvania portraying recent protests seeking police reform as destructive and dangerous.
“The staggering homicide and shooting rates in Philadelphia are proof that the district attorney’s radical experiment has failed,” McSwain said Monday.
Philadelphia had seen a more than 30% increase in year-to-date homicides as of Monday, with 319 compared with 244 to the same point last year.
McSwain, a Trump appointee, and Krasner, a Democrat elected in 2017 on promises to reform the criminal justice system, have crossed swords before.
A spokesperson for Krasner, who has in the past accused McSwain of grandstanding and political ambition, said it would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing prosecution by another agency but noted inaccuracies in McSwain’s commentary.
“Mass incarceration and death by incarceration have not made us safer,” spokesperson Jane Roh wrote in an email. “Throwing lives away in the name of politics has broken families and communities, further entrenching generational poverty to the point where quality of life indicators for Black people are now worse than prior generations.”
McSwain’s office filed charges against Khalif Tuggle, who pleaded guilty to 2017 state charges including third-degree murder and robbery inflicting serious bodily injury for the shooting death of Tommy Peterson during a carjacking.
Tuggle was indicted on federal charges of carjacking, use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime and use of a firearm resulting in murder.
McSwain argued that Tuggle had been charged with third-degree murder instead of first-degree murder, which carries a life sentence, as part of a plea deal that sought information about his accomplice. Tuggle is serving 13 1/2 to 27 years in prison.
Roh noted a judge had issued Tuggle’s sentence despite prosecutors asking for a sentence nearly twice as long.
McSwain also announced the federal indictment of John Allen Kane, who is charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun.
Kane had served two sentences for voluntary manslaughter and murder-related offenses, and after being released from prison was pulled over by police for running a stop sign. Officers found drugs and a handgun.
Krasner’s office dropped charges against Kane because of a Supreme Court ruling in another case in which charges were thrown out against a man who had been found guilty in municipal traffic court of charges stemming from the same episode.
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