PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Republican candidate for district attorney now has in her pocket an endorsement with some clout behind it, the union representing Philadelphia police officers.
Fraternal Order of Police president John McNesby says about 300 officers – active and retired – sat in for separate meetings with Republican Beth Grossman and Democratic nominee Larry Krasner. McNesby says Grossman, a career prosecutor, knows many of them because of her more than 21-years as an assistant DA.
“When it was over, there was a motion put on the floor, and it passed unanimously,” McNesby said.
Grossman is grateful that the FOP endorsed her.
“My opposition has no prosecutorial experience,” she said. “He has spent his entire career suing the police department. Over 75-times.”
Plus, McNesby acknowledges his members can’t overcome Krasner’s opposition to the death penalty, among other issues.
“We’re always going to agree to disagree on a lot of issues,” McNesby said, “especially the death penalty where it involves an officer, or someone in the community where the crime is that heinous that it deserves the death penalty.”
Grossman does wonder “whether it is at this point even economically feasible to have a death penalty,” since Pennsylvania rarely uses it. But, she says she would, “in an extreme case, as when a first responder, like a police officer, is executed in cold blood.”
Krasner is known for handling civil rights cases, representing protestors arrested at the Republican National Convention, and Black Lives Matter advocates. Some of Krasner’s supporters chanted anti-police slogans at his victory party, which obviously did not go over well with the FOP.
Well-known criminal defense lawyer Jack McMahon accompanied Krasner to the FOP meeting.
‘To me, a lawyer who stands up for civil rights is not a negative,” McMahon said. “That should be a positive. Civil Rights are important to you, me, police officers, and everyone.”
McMahon has represented scores of police officers over the decades.
‘I’ve represented police officers from corruption to murder, millions of them,” he said, “and I have great respect for them, as does Mr. Krasner.”
McMahon says Krasner told the gathering he supports “good” police officers.
“Just like there are good lawyers and bad lawyers, good doctors and bad doctors,” he said. “It’s true in any profession.”
McMahon says while other candidates in the recent seven-person Democratic primary were good people, he supported Krasner all along.
“I went to the meeting to dispel the rumor and innuendo that Larry is some sort of boogeyman. He’s not.,” McMahon said. “He’s intelligent, thoughtful, and has new and good ideas for changing the criminal justice system. I think that they’re appropriate, and needed.”
The FOP has been a vocal critic of incumbent Seth Williams, who is now facing corruption charges at his federal trial.