What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: Philadelphia embraced Larry Krasner’s progressive vision. But he may be running out of time. The city’s district attorney swept into office in 2018 on a criminal justice reform plank and has used his time in office to fight mass incarceration and undo the tough-on-crime policies of his predecessors. But his tenure has been challenged by the city’s police, soaring gun violence, and his own abrasive and combative style, which has alienated some people in the community. J. Brian Charles reports on Krasner’s tenure and his closer-than-expected May 18 Democratic primary against the police union-backed prosecutor Carlos Vega. Those watching the race closely expect Krasner to prevail. But if he does, he will face an increasingly skeptical Philadelphia, and the continuing challenge of delivering both safety and reform. You can read the story here.
Underscoring the toll of violence, Philadelphia saw a surge of shootings over the weekend. At least five people were killed and least 15 wounded in more than a dozen separate incidents. “I’m devastated by the unspeakable violence that occurred this weekend across our city,” the mayor said in a statement. According to the Office of the Controller, the city had 183 homicides so far this year, a 34-percent increase over 2020.
In New York City, another primary colored by questions of public safety. Within hours of a shooting in Times Square on Saturday that left three people injured, moderate front-runners in the city’s Democratic mayoral primary hosted impromptu press conferences near the shooting site and rejected progressive calls for shrinking police budgets. Both Andrew Yang, a businessman and politician, and Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a former police officer, have called for more law enforcement resources alongside criminal justice reforms to curb the ongoing surge in shootings. But more progressive candidates in the race reiterated their calls to shift some police funding toward alternative public safety efforts. Outside a Brooklyn church, candidate Maya Wiley spoke of the need to invest more in things like summer jobs programs for youth and trauma care. Dianne Morales, who also supports cuts to the NYPD budget, tweeted that the shooting was “a painful reminder that we need bigger solutions than the police. We have enough resources to finally address the conditions that got us here.”
A mass shooting during a family party left six people dead. The incident occurred in a mobile home park in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Sunday, as members of an extended family were celebrating several birthdays. Police said a man who was dating one of the victims walked into the home and began firing. The shooter also died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. It was one of the deadliest mass shootings in state history and comes weeks after a gunman killed 10 people at a Boulder grocery store in March. In a statement, Colorado Governor Jared Polis called the shooting a “terrible act of violence.”
The Department of Justice released its ghost gun proposal. The rule, if implemented, would require retailers of ghost gun kits to run background checks on prospective buyers, and mandate that gun-makers include a serial number on unfinished receivers if they can be easily converted into a finished gun. Members of the public will have 90 days to submit comments before the rule is implemented. The proposal is one of several executive actions targeting gun violence the Biden administration announced last month.
ICYMI: The CJR Gun Violence Coverage Commitment. Last week, the Columbia Journalism Review published a set of guidelines for more responsible media coverage of gun violence and asked newsrooms across the country to sign the pledge, which the Trace has now done. You can read a more detailed description of the six pledges here. In our weekly newsletter, CJR Editor-in-Chief and publisher Kyle Pope told my colleague Jennifer Mascia that his goal is to get news organizations to treat gun violence as “an urgent beat,” producing reporting that can change public understanding of the problem and better inform solutions.
More than 12,000 — the number of “members” accounts on the website of the far-right Oath Keepers, according to a BuzzFeed News analysis of newly obtained financial documents and membership data. As the group’s leader frequently railed against election results last fall, the Oath Keepers saw a spike of at least 3,000 new members in November and December alone. [BuzzFeed News]