By Ned Meiners
PHILADELPHIA – When CNN and PBS host Christiane Amanpour played a clip of Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police leader John McNesby on her Tuesday show, Philly District Attorney Larry Krasner did not hesitate to cut into the union leader.
In Krasner’s opinion, the union leadership is out of step with the city’s diverse population and police force.
And, McNesby recently said of Krasner, “He has no respect for the community, no respect for victims of crime.”
The police union leader believes that Philadelphians are losing faith in their District Attorney, noting, “They realize it’s not safe to be here in Philadelphia; It’s not safe while he’s sitting in the seat of the District Attorney.”
In return, Krasner criticized McNesby for his right-wing affiliations. He noted that the police union leader has associated with hate group, The Proud Boys, supported an officer who displayed a Nazi tattoo while in uniform, and called Black Lives Matter, “a pack of rabid animals.”
Krasner believes McNesby is not reflective of the Philadelphia Police Department as a whole. “He is exactly what we are standing against. This is the old, racist, brutal guard. He does not, in fact, represent most current and modern police officers.”
The District Attorney further stated that McNesby is out of touch with Philadelphia’s diverse police force, which increasingly includes many women and people of color.
Krasner chalked this up to the internal politics of the police union, which, in his opinion, is controlled by its retired membership. According to the District Attorney, “We have a leadership of the [Fraternal Order of Police] that’s in 1959.”
Krasner is currently facing a primary challenge in his re-election for Philadelphia District Attorney. Amanpour stated that some Democratic institutions are withholding their support for the incumbent.
However, Krasner dismissed any idea that he was in political danger, noting “The Democratic Party didn’t support me last time….and we ended up with more D.A. votes than any D.A. in the last 20 years.”
In 2017, Krasner won a seven-way Democratic primary by 18-points. In Philadelphia, where registered Democrats out-number Republicans seven to one, victory in the general election was virtually assured.
A former defense attorney and civil right litigator, Krasner had never worked a day for the District Attorney’s Office before he became its chief. In his opinion, the system needs to be reformed from the outside.
According to Krasner, “We remain outsiders to a system that is all about insiders, the political machine and so on, and frankly I hope I never get too far away from being an outsider.”
Ned Meiners is a Legal Studies student at City College San Francisco. Originally from Maine, he currently resides on Bernal Hill in San Francisco.
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