Harris addressed the jury’s verdict in the Rittenhouse hotel basement in Philadelphia on Sunday, saying the fact that a third alleged rapist did not get found guilty despite describing certain aspects of his crime as a crime still illustrates a serious problem:
“To have a large number of alleged rapists walking around with essentially free passes because of their wealth is a situation that is deeply troubling, and the jury’s decision tonight doesn’t completely help solve that problem, but it’s a really helpful indication of just how pervasive a challenge it is,” Harris said.
Harris pointed to a local perception that black men face unfair justice in Philadelphia, which he said leads to a stifled economy, particularly for young black men.
Harris pointed to several key points of agreement and agreement between the city of Philadelphia and the Justice Department that specifically address those issues. One is that prosecutors must view disproportionate violence against black men as the product of broader social trends rather than just discriminatory laws, which he said reform has proven to be the only real solution.
“What this jury laid out tonight is consistent with our work, and that’s: There is a lot more work to do on this problem. I’m very pleased that the Justice Department has taken this as seriously as we have, and that we’re going to continue to build on that work and make even more progress,” Harris said.
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