Philadelphia District Attorney Candidate Forum Recap

BY: GINO AMATO

On Tuesday, April 25, Philadelphia District Attorney candidates spoke at a forum at Temple University, sponsored by Young Involved Philadelphia (YIP).  The forum focused on a variety of different topics, with each candidate being allowed to pick one issue to speak about.

Things escalated quickly when a group of audience members got into a verbal yelling match as the first candidate, Michael Untermeyer, began speaking. The next candidate to take the mic was Larry Krasner. At the last DA forum covered by WHIP,  Krasner established himself as progressive and aggressive. 

“You got to get creative when dealing with bullies,” Krasner said at this forum. He then concluded his speech by highlighting his work as a civil rights attorney, as well as addressing one of his most recent cases defending a 13 year old girl in a rape case.

Following Krasner was democratic candidate Joe Khan. Khan touched on Philadelphia’s status as a sanctuary status and what the role of the DA’s office in relation to the federal government. Khan commented that the current administration’s approach to immigration comes from hatred, bigotry, and discrimination.

Khan reiterated that the DA’s office will not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in deporting Philadelphia residents who have been arrested.  He reiterated his commitment to challenging ICE and the federal government’s policies on immigration.

Jack O’Neill discussed programs that can help convicted individuals gain employment and rehabilitate, straying away from mass incarceration. He plans on investing in Future Forward, diversion programs, and post-arrest programs. O’Neill also touched on the need to lock up rapists and murders, highlighting the statistic that, “we lose three people a month to domestic violence,” in Philadelphia.

Teresa Carr Deni highlighted the racial and gender disparities that exist within the DA office, focusing on the gender wage gap. According to Carr Deni, the office needs “more multicultural and multilingual attorneys in the office.”

Beth Grossman is the race’s lone republican candidate. Grossman spoke about the need to have honest public officials in office. She focused specifically on former on corrupt Democratic public officials such as former District Attorney Seth Williams and former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. Grossman closed with mentioning the Democrats’ nearly 50-year monopoly in Philadelphia public office.