Larry Krasner is the People’s Choice

In Philadelphia’s district attorney election, the choice is clear for anyone who cares about fighting corruption, securing justice for everyday people, and creating accountability for police officers who abuse their power. Larry Krasner has a strong record of defending the vulnerable and taking on abusive law enforcement practices as a civil rights attorney. We now have an opportunity to put a true reformer in charge of an office that has been riddled with corruption and almost always shields police who break the law.

District Attorney elections don’t usually get a lot of attention, but they should. Anyone who has paid close attention to cases of police brutality knows a familiar story: a police officer beats someone up or kills them, outrage and protests ensue, and if there’s any kind of accountability for the officer at all, it’s usually a slap on the wrist. Almost never are police officers actually charged with a crime and prosecuted. Why? Because district attorneys choose not to prosecute police.

Larry Krasner is running to be a different kind of DA, and his record shows where his values are.

Krasner has a good chance of winning Philadelphia’s DA race, but he has powerful opponents in the race who would continue the serious problems that plague the city’s criminal justice system.

Rich Negrin is the Fraternal Order of Police’s candidate of choice, which makes it clear that he’ll protect abusive police and continue the status quo. Philly’s FOP, like other police unions, will stop at nothing to shield police officers from any kind of accountability, and one way they do that is by helping elect DAs who they know will turn a blind eye to police misconduct.

Some people have asked why Color Of Change PAC, which is dedicated to building Black political power, isn’t supporting Tariq El-Shabazz, the only Black candidate in the race. There are many reasons.

Over and over again, El-Shabazz has failed to properly represent his clients (including poor Black people), taking their money and then failing to do even the most basic work required for a proper defense. When El-Shabazz was working under DA Seth Williams (who is now being prosecuted by the federal government for corruption), he wouldn’t take the time to look at individual cases of youth to re-sentence them after the Supreme Court struck down Juvenile Life Without Parole. Instead, he kept the life sentences for all of them and added parole as an option to satisfy the new Supreme Court ruling. El-Shabazz has been charged with contempt of court three times, after missing court dates and deliberately deceiving the courts about his whereabouts.

Krasner has a long history of defending people organizing for justice and social change — including members of Black Lives Matter and Occupy — often for free.

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He’s the only candidate in the race with deep experience using the legal system to hold police accountable — he has filed civil rights lawsuits to secure justice for victims of law enforcement more than 75 times. In 2010, when police brutally beat Askia Sabur, then charged him with assaulting a police officer, Krasner successfully defended him. He went on to sue the police and secure a more than $800,000 settlement for Sabur. In contrast, despite clear video evidence of the brutal beating, the Philadelphia DA at the time cleared the officers of any wrongdoing and declined to charge them with a crime.

In addition to holding police accountable, Krasner is promising to shift the priorities of law enforcement away from misguided and outdated “tough on crime” policies that disproportionately affect Black people, other people of color, and the poor, tearing apart families and damaging communities while doing nothing to improve safety and justice. Krasner will stop pursuing mandatory minimum sentences (one of the key causes of the over-incarceration of Black people), giving judges discretion to impose sentences that make sense. He’ll stop pursuing the death penalty. He will stop prosecuting marijuana cases, which disproportionately affect Black people and are often used as an excuse for police to target and harass people in our communities.

It’s clear that Krasner’s opponents would do nothing to bring much-needed change to the DA’s office, instead perpetuating a system that has failed Black people and the entire city. But with Larry Krasner, we have a rare opportunity to elect a DA who will truly serve all of Philadelphia’s communities, address racism in the criminal justice system, and make sure that police are subject to the rule of the law just like everyone else.

Rashad Robinson
Spokesperson, Color Of Change PAC