In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and more specifically in the city of Philadelphia, there is always a sense of brawn and arrogance that is assumed by the Democratic politicians who win office in this city and state. They often act like they are better and smarter than their own constituents who they are supposed to lead and protect.
Philadelphia District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams happens to be one of the officials in this city who assumes his office in this way. The way he carries himself around the city, one would think that he has accomplished a great deal when it comes to protecting people in this city. But instead he has only accomplished things for himself.
In August, Williams revealed that he received over $160,000 worth of gifts and favors from supporters from 2010-2015. This is in violation of regulations forcing public officials to file disclosure such gifts annually. Also, this figure of $160,000 almost exceeds his annual salary. This situation is highly scandalous and reveals how deals really get done in this city. The elite, including Williams, whose job is to lock up oppressed people in the jails, profit off of incarceration.
With Williams being this city’s first Black District Attorney, one might think that he would attempt to make things smoother for Black people caught up in this state’s prison system. But actually, Williams’ time in office displays the exact opposite. When he first assumed office in 2009-2010, he completely turned his back on the Black community in Philadelphia. He was responsible for filling the jails in Philadelphia with thousands of Black youth.
He refused to prosecute police officers who caused damage and affliction to Black and Brown families in Philadelphia and also immigrant families. He rejected many complaints from communities and also chose to not prosecute (and at first, even reveal the identity of) those police officers who were involved in the shooting and murder of Brandon Tate-Brown in 2014. Around that same time though, he actively sought to prosecute Black public officials in the city for charges of bribery and theft. Even though those allegations may be true, this now exposes Williams as a hypocrite since he himself engaged in virtually the same behavior!
The corruption of the so-called justice system in this city and state – run by the Democratic Party – has a long history and we still see waves of this corruption happening around us daily. Last year, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania Chaka Fattah was accused of money laundering and later convicted. Also, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was just found guilty of perjury and leaking secret information to the press.
These criminal investigations just proves how hypocritical and inherently criminal this system is. In the meantime, Seth Williams is a symbol of the type of politician who would rather serve the system than his own communities in Philadelphia. It is crucial to continue to uncover, expose and protest those who are on the wrong side of justice.