Black police officers and first responders endorse Krasner for DA, breaking from union

Former Guardian Civic League President Rochelle Bilal announces her organization's support for Larry Krasner for Philadelphia district attorney in June 2017. (Emma Lee/WHYY) June 20, 2017

Former Guardian Civic League President Rochelle Bilal announces her organization's support for Larry Krasner for Philadelphia district attorney in June 2017. (Emma Lee/WHYY) June 20, 2017

Two organizations representing Philadelphia’s Black and Latino police officers and first responders announced their endorsement of District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Support from Guardian Civic League and Club Valiants comes as unions for the city’s police officers and firefighters back Krasner’s challenger Carlos Vega.

Police union leader John McNesby and other Krasner opponents blame his progressive approach to criminal justice for the city’s gun violence crisis.

But Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal, speaking as a member of the civic league, said change takes time.

“We know that reform is not easy,” said Bilal. “And it takes time to reform a system that has been stacked against Black and brown people for decades.”

According to Bilal, the civic league represents about 1,200 active-duty officers. Club Valiants represents more than 400 firefighters and first responders, per club president Lisa Forrest, who is also Philadelphia’s first Black woman fire battalion chief.

The incumbent DA said the endorsements of Club Valiants and the Guardian Civic League indicate that police and firefighters union leadership are not truly representing all of its leaders.

“I think it represents an important first step towards everyone recognizing that all police officers do not think like act like or look like John McNesby,” said Krasner. “And all firefighters do not think like, act like or look like the current leadership of the firefighters’ union.”

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