Police organizations back Negrin for Philly DA

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     Patrick Murphy (Emma Lee/WHYY)

    Patrick Murphy (Emma Lee/WHYY)

    The union representing Philadelphia police officers and associations of African-American and Hispanic officers have endorsed Rich Negrin for district attorney in the Democratic primary.

    Leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Guardian Civic League, and Philadelphia’s Spanish American Law Enforcement Association announced their support at a Wednesday morning news conference.

    The FOP has feuded with incumbent District Attorney Seth Williams over a number of cases of alleged police misconduct, and in January paid to hoist a billboard on I-95 saying “Help Wanted: New Philadelphia District Attorney.”

    Williams, who is facing a federal investigation and has been cited by the city Ethics Board for failing to report gifts, has since decided not to seek re-election.

    FOP President John McNesby said at the news conference he came to know and respect Negrin when Negrin was Mayor Michael Nutter’s managing director.

    “As police officers sometime we have conflicts with the district attorney’s office. That’s fine,” McNesby said. “What we’re looking for is fairness, equality, and an open door and communications, and that’s what we’re going to have.”

    McNesby said Negrin had earned the endorsement with his actions.

    “He’s done a lot for the families of our fallen officers,” Negrin said, noting that it was “without fanfare, not with news media or cameras, but very quietly.”

    Negrin said he was “deeply moved and proud” that the law enforcement organizations had come together to support him.

    The FOP nod is a sought-after endorsement in Philadelphia elections, and is particularly helpful in this race, since the District Attorney is also a key player in law enforcement.

    McNesby said his 14,200 members will be a powerful force in the election. Roughly half of that number are retired officers, and some don’t live in the city.

    In addition, the union won the right through a federal court case to raise money from its officers for political contributions, and its political committee can contribute up to $23,800 to Negrin’s campaign.

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