Richard Negrin leads the charge
At Philly for Change’s February meeting, three candidates for Philadelphia District Attorney spoke to the group on their platforms and their previous career decisions and how they would impact their decisions as DA. The meetings are set to determine how the group would vote to endorse a candidate.
Three candidates, Richard Negrin, Joe Khan, and Judge Teresa Carr Deni made speeches and answered questions in terms of policy. Answering tough questions in regards to everything from immigration policies to diversion programs, the candidates focused made their cases for the public’s vote in the May 2017 primary.
The first candidate to the mic was Richard Negrin who stated that in the current political climate, “It’s gonna be up to us, the local officials, to safeguard our lives.” He mentioned the conviction he felt to attend the protest against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed that temporarily banned travel from seven islamic countries to the U.S. for three months. He shared that he viewed the order was morally corrupt and how it further solidified his reasons for running for DA in the spring, “That’s why I was at the airport on Sunday [...] I can’t remember a scarier time in our country,” Negrin said.
Facing questions in reference to everything from sanctuary city cities and Immigration and Customs Enforcement access to the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS) to teachings about implicit bias, a term that refers to accidental profiling or stereotyping one may apply to others, the candidates were grilled by members of the public on the policies.
Amongst the candidates the one that received the least amount of pushback was Negrin, whose most trying moment was in reference to an order he made to disburse protesters who were blocking a hospital entrance. He resolved that stating that he thought it was a danger to public health and firmly believes in First Amendment rights, citing his presence at the protest at Philadelphia International Airport.
Judge Teresa Carr Deni was next offering a brief history or her career, highlighting her time as Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni and 10 years operating a private practice, she stated that her experience would be ideal for the position. It wasn’t long before the controversy of Deni’s career was brought up - a case from 2007 where she reduced a rape charge to theft of service in a case involving a prostitute who was forced to have sex with two additional men at gunpoint in a ruling the Philadelphia Bar Association titled, an unforgivable miscarriage of justice” for which Judge Deni maintained she made the right decision and could not discuss details of the case.
The last candidate to oppose current District Attorney Seth Williams, who was recently hit with the largest ethics fine in the city of Philadelphia at $62,000 in penalties, was Joe Khan. Khan, a former federal prosecutor mentioned that his immigrant background and open family upbringing make him accepting to all groups and guide him to be the type of District Attorney that would guide fair and balanced policies for all parties.
After careful questioning and impassioned arguments from the group as a whole, it became clear that the candidate with the least pushback was Negrin who earlier shared that his role would be the last line of defense against Trump policies, “We should be leading the charge,” Negrin stated.
The March meeting of Philly for Change is set to host Seth Williams at the Tattooed Mom.