Can the Anti-Trump Resistance Take the Philadelphia DA’s Office?
LARRY KRASNER, Philadelphia’s insurgent candidate for district attorney, has built his campaign around three pledges: to end mass incarceration, to stand up for people’s rights and liberties, and to resist the Trump administration.
In Philadelphia, as in much of 2017 America, those are ambitious plans: The city has the highest incarceration rate in the Northeast and arrests twice as many people on average as other big cities. Philadelphia also has a sordid history of police abuse and a level of official corruption that’s almost legendary — the current DA, Seth Williams, is facing 23 federal charges ranging from bribery to extortion, and is not seeking re-election.
But Krasner, who has never worked as a prosecutor, has a 30-year record showing that he’s always been committed to those promises. As a civil rights and criminal defense attorney, he has represented many of those most affected by the city’s troubled justice system. He has defended Philadelphia’s poor and generations of the city’s dissenters — from ACT UP activists in the 1990s to Occupiers, Dreamers, and Black Lives Matter protesters in more recent years. He has sued the Philadelphia Police Department at least 75 times.
“I was just having a damn good time,” Krasner said during an interview at his law firm-turned-campaign headquarters. “I mean, there was something in it for me. I was contributing to major social change and it was making me feel, I don’t know … significant, whole. Right?”