Coalition calls for 'transformative change' in Krasner's 1st 100 days

Rick Krajewski, an organizer with Reclaim Philadelphia and a member of the coalition, speaks at a rally outside the District Attorney’s Office on Thursday Nov. 9, 2017.

About 35 activists stood outside the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office late Thursday morning, applauding Larry Krasner’s win as the city’s next district attorney and calling for him to transform the office during his first 100 days in office.

The group, which calls itself the Philadelphia Coalition for a Just District Attorney, wants Krasner to end cash bail, stop the use of civil forfeiture, advocate for programs that would address the root causes of crime, decline to prosecute “quality of life” offenses, refuse to collaborate with federal immigration authorities, and create a research unit to investigate alleged racial biases in charging and sentencing.

Krasner, a criminal defense attorney with a focus on civil rights, beat Republican Beth Grossman in Tuesday’s election. Krasner, a Democrat, won with 75 percent of the vote. He will take office the first week of January.

Ben Waxman, a spokesman for Krasner, said the DA-elect was in New York on Thursday for a family funeral.

Krasner’s campaign has included pledges to never seek the death penalty, reduce the use of cash bail for nonviolent offenders, and end what he calls “mass incarceration.”

Before Thursday’s rally across from City Hall, organizer Hannah Sassaman said the coalition will meet Tuesday with Krasner to talk about his plans and the coalition’s goals. “We have the possibility to accomplish transformative change,” she said.

Rick Krajewski, 26, of West Philadelphia, a coalition member and an organizer with Reclaim Philadelphia, told those gathered: “We need a new definition of justice.” He called for policies that would uphold “equality, healing, and fairness.”

“We are here to fight alongside Krasner, to hold him accountable to the promises he made in his campaign,” Krajewski said.

Erika Almiron, executive director of immigrant-rights group Juntos, called on Krasner to stop all cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement so that immigrants would have no fear of deportation.

Sara Mullen, associate director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, called for Krasner “to commit to full transparency, with a quarterly release of data on a publicly accessible website.” She also called for “regular public forums” where information on prosecutorial decisions, including by race, could be shared.