D.A. candidate Larry Krasner gathers early attention in race


District Attorney candidate Larry Krasner believes his candidacy isn’t about him.

“I think the excitement is really about the ideas,” he said in a recent interview with The Tribune. “My background gives those ideas credibility, because there are people who talk the talk and there are people who walk the walk.”

The 56-year-old attorney, or at least his ideas, has seemingly drummed up a good deal of excitement in the 25 days that he announced he was running to be the city’s District Attorney. That enthusiasm propelled him to win an informal Philadelphia Tribune online poll asking visitors, “Who do you support for Philadelphia District Attorney?”

With more than 300 votes, Krasner won the poll, logging three times as many votes as the distant second-place finisher Tariq El-Shabazz, who received 100 votes. Teresa Carr Deni received 61 votes earning her third place. Democrat Rich Negrin was fourth with just over 40 votes while Joe Khan, Michael Untermeyer and Beth Grossman all received around 30 votes.

The poll opened on Friday, Feb., Feb. 24, and closed Friday, March 3, collecting more than 500 entries.

Although there is an African-American candidate in the race — former First Deputy District Attorney El-Shabazz — Krasner, who is not African-American, has drawn the backing of such African-American activists as Asa Khalif of Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania, and attorney Michael Coard.

Born in 1961 in St. Louis, Missouri, Krasner attended public schools in St. Louis and Philadelphia before attending the University of Chicago for undergraduate school. Throughout his earliest school years up through the first year after college, Krasner said he worked in janitorial work, construction and landscaping.

In 1987, Krasner graduated from Stanford Law School in California and worked five years as a public defender in Philadelphia.

Krasner opened his own private practice in 1993 and said most of his civil rights work has revolved around police abuse and police corruption. Notably, he represented Askia Sabur, a Philadelphia police brutality victim who was beaten by officers in 2010 and went on trial in 2013. Ultimately, Sabur was acquitted of all charges and was awarded an $850,000 settlement against the police.

“I’m not important,” Krasner said in a phone interview, “but I have been around issues that are important.”

Krasner has represented protestors from Occupy Philly, the 2000 Republican National Convention and Black Lives Matter.