BY MICHAEL COARD, ESQ. – THE PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE
In a previous column about District Attorney candidate Larry Krasner, I quoted the following line from Jay-Z on his What More Can I Say song where he rhymed, “I’m everywhere. You ain’t never there.” He must have been rapping about Krasner compared to all the other candidates.
I guess the members of the editorial board of my beloved Philadelphia Tribune never heard that song before. And I guess they never heard about Krasner’s 30 years of experience always being everywhere as a civil rights lawyer, criminal defense attorney, and community anti-crime activist fighting for Black folks, poor folks, and all victimized and oppressed folks.
I also guess they never heard about their own newspaper’s February 24 to March 3 “D.A. Election Poll” that Krasner won with three times more votes than the runner-up who, by the way, wasn’t even the guy they endorsed. That guy finished in fourth place.
Speaking of that guy, he’s a former Assistant District Attorney who did absolutely nothing as an insider to speak out against “Stop & Frisk,” police brutality, mass incarceration, or the death penalty- which he supports despite the fact that while Black men constitute only approximately three percent of the U.S. population, they constitute about 33 percent of all death row inmates. And for that, the editorial board members inexplicably describe him as “the most practical reformer.” Are they talking about the same guy who sought the endorsement of the Trump-endorsing FOP? Yep. They sure are. What?
They then said “While we like Krasner’s record as a civil rights attorney and support many of his ideas... (the fourth place guy) is the better choice because of his experience as a city and federal prosecutor. Once again, what? Seth Williams has extensive experience as a city prosecutor and so does Lynne Abraham. Should we vote for them? And U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has extensive experience as a federal prosecutor. Should we make him an honorary Philadelphian and vote for him?
They also called that guy a “progressive reformer.” But they didn’t — and can’t — name one damn thing he ever reformed for Blacks or anyone else. He was nothing more than a robotic soldier following the marching orders of his prosecuting generals who operate a blatantly and unarguably racist criminal injustice system.
But enough about that guy. Let’s talk about another guy — the guy who has stood with me representing Black Lives Matter and doing it pro bono. That guy is Krasner. And I — the “Angriest Black Man in America” — call him the “Blackest White Guy in America” to ever run for D.A. Here are five reasons (among many) why he deserves that title and our vote:
- He’s always litigated against illegal “Stop & Frisk.”
- He’s always sued cops for police brutality.
- He’s always fought against the death penalty, mass incarceration, and also the cash bail system that discriminates against the poor.
- He’s always called for an end to life sentences for juveniles nationwide — and especially in Philly which has more people in prison serving life sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles than any other city on the planet.
- He’s always demanded that the D.A.’s Office and police focus on the six percent of criminals who commit 60 percent of the crimes because, as his campaign slogan makes clear, “Justice Makes Us Safer.”
As anaside, I should also mention that Krasner represented me and approximately 100 other lawyers when I organized a “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot Die-In” inside the lobby of the Juanita Kidd Stout Criminal Justice Center in 2014 for attorneys to protest the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
In addition, I should mention that he was one of the key lawyers who helped publicly expose the disgraced Narcotics Field Unit cops whose fraud caused more than 100 convictions to be overturned and 250 civil complaints to be filed. That’s why he and his law firm were selected as chief counsel for the plaintiffs in many of those complaints.
By the way, don’t be fooled by the haters and the confused people who say Krasner is one of the top contenders to win only because billionaire George Soros gave him $1.4 million. First of all, Soros didn’t give him a penny. Soros gave the money to Soros’ own Political Action Committee (PAC) because he happens to support many of the social justice issues that Krasner — and Black folks — support.
Second, because of severe campaign law restrictions, Krasner and his staff not only can’t legally receive that Soros money, they can’t even see it. In fact, they can’t even communicate with Soros or Soros’ PAC. That PAC decides itself how it wants to financially support Krasner. And I must note that of the little money that Krasner and his staff actually have themselves for newspaper and radio ads, they used it first at Black media outlets — i.e., The Tribune and WURD!