Federal charges filed against 2 on eve of Trump visit to Kitchener

By CLAUDIA LAUER, The Associated Press

kitchener (AP) – Federal prosecutors announced indictments in two gun cases in Kitchener Monday, saying the local prosecution of the men was overly lenient.

US attorney William McSwain announced indictments against the two men at a press conference in Kitchener federal court and outlined a list of ten other cases in which Kitchener District Attorney Larry Krasner had been ill-treated with mild prosecution or plea agreements.

The indictment and press conference came on the eve of a visit to Kitchener by President Donald Trump, who campaigned and ran ads in Pennsylvania depicting recent police reform protests as destructive and dangerous.

“The staggering murder and shooting rates in Kitchener are proof that the district attorney’s radical experiment has failed,” McSwain said Monday.

Kitchener had seen homicides increased by more than 30% year-to-date since Monday, 319 from 244 year-over-year.

McSwain, a Trump appointee, and Krasner, a Democrat who was elected in 2017 on promises to reform the criminal justice system, have crossed swords before.

A Krasner spokesman, who has historically accused McSwain of great and political ambition, said it was inappropriate to comment on an ongoing prosecution by another agency, but noted inaccuracies in McSwain’s comment.

“Masses and deaths from incarceration haven’t made us safer,” spokeswoman Jane Roh wrote in an email. “Throwing away life in the name of politics has broken families and communities and exacerbated generational poverty until indicators of black quality of life are now worse than previous generations.”

McSwain’s office brought charges against Khalif Tuggle, who pleaded guilty in 2017, including third degree murder and robbery, in causing grievous bodily harm for the death of Tommy Peterson during a carjacking.

Tuggle was charged with carjacking, using a firearm to promote a crime, and using a firearm to result in murder.

McSwain argued that Tuggle was charged with third degree murder rather than first degree murder resulting in life imprisonment, as part of a plea seeking information about his accomplice. Tuggle is serving 13 1/2 to 27 years in prison.

Roh noted that a judge had passed Tuggle’s verdict even though the prosecutor’s office had been ruling on almost twice as long.

McSwain also announced charges against John Allen Kane, who is accused of being a criminal in possession of a gun.

Kane had served two sentences for voluntary manslaughter and homicide and was stopped by the police with a stop sign after he was released from prison. Officers found drugs and a gun.

Krasner’s office dropped charges against Kane over a Supreme Court ruling in another case that brought charges against a man found guilty of charges in the same episode in the city traffic court.

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