Documentary

Philly D.A.

For progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, getting elected was the easy part.

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Philly D.A., an eight-part documentary series by Independent Lens on PBS, follows progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, a former civil rights attorney who made a career out of suing the police, through his tumultuous first few years in office.

Krasner's was among the first and most significant victories in a well-funded campaign to elect civil libertarians to district attorney offices across the country, but he encountered political headwinds as violent crime in the city spiked.

For Krasner, getting elected was the easy part. Philly D.A. shows him facing fierce attacks for refusing to pursue the death penalty, for his support of supervised injection sites, and for his attempts to rein in the police. After his improbable victory, he immediately begins trying to ram reforms through a recalcitrant system. Impolitic and impatient, he fires dozens of line prosecutors and refuses to kowtow to police unions.

The costs of the chummy relationship between cops and his predecessors are clear. Early in the series, Krasner's staffers discover a secret list of Philadelphia cops who were considered too dirty to put on the stand. The file is labeled "Damaged Goods." Those "damaged goods" were still policing the citizens of Philadelphia. The series also shows people affected by the policies Krasner is trying to dismantle, such as a young man who spent eight months in jail because his family couldn't afford his $1,200 bail.

In May, Krasner shellacked his opponent, a police union–backed prosecutor he had fired, for reelection by a 66–33 margin. The documentary remains a well-rounded, thorough look at the levers of power in the justice system and who controls them.

NEXT: Brickbat: Bad Influence

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  1. In May, Krasner shellacked his opponent, a police union–backed prosecutor he had fired, for reelection by a 66–33 margin.

    Too much of a gap for even FIlthadelphia election centers to overcome.

    1. What makes you think the gap wasn’t overcome by a 66-33 margin?

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    2. His opponent was a republican. That margin is totally expectable in Philthy.

  2. A lawless society is an anti-racist society. Did I miss the part where the effectiveness of these policies was discussed? Is violent crime or property crime falling, or is this just an article praising Philadelphia’s racial corruption?

    1. Given that it is PBS, am guessing the latter.

  3. Things are hunky-dory in Philly, thanks to seventy years of Democrat rule. Well, they must be, or the good citizens would not continue to elect them, right?

  4. “Krasner’s was among the first and most significant victories in a well-funded campaign to elect civil libertarians to district attorney offices across the country,”

    Krasner is NOT a civil libertarian, but rather a Soros financed left wing extremist who (like other prosecutors financed by Soros) wants to destroy society by sabotaging law enforcement and refusing to prosecute those who harm and violate the rights of others (under the deceitful guise of racial and social justice).

    But since most of the rationale people moved out of Philly decades ago, the remaining voters seem to be pleased with the rising crime brought on by Krasner and other Democrats.

    1. “most of the rationale people moved out of Philly decades ago”…and finally changed the suburbs to “blue” too.

    2. “Less than three weeks before the primary, a political action committee supporting Krasner’s campaign received a $1.45 million contribution from billionaire George Soros.”

      “Libertarian” my ass.

      1. Mike Hihn snickers

        1. Haven’t heard any snorts or chortles in a while.

        2. I’ll have to celebrate the anniversary of his death. It’s coming soon I think.

      2. there’s a distinction between “civil libertarian”, as in, someone who is concerned with civil liberties, and “Libertarians”, who are Republicans that like hookers & pot

  5. Is it even possible for millions of people to live in one urban center without turning to graft, corruption, and partisan power plays as default operating mechanisms?

  6. but he encountered political headwinds as violent crime in the city spiked.

    When you refuse to prosecute rioters and looters peaceful protestors, that’s a predictable outcome.

  7. because his family couldn’t afford his $1,200 bail.

    Not to be a dick – though I am being dickish – but ‘couldn’t afford’ or ‘refused to pay’? They couldn’t scrape up 1200 between family and friends?

    OTOH, if your bail is 1200 bucks, are you really dangerous enough to need the bond in the first place?

    1. I’m assuming it’s not because you are a danger but to apply social pressure or financial loss against not showing. Who cares if a faceless system is inconvenienced because I didn’t show for my hearing; but cost my mom $1,000 so she can’t pay rent for some stupid shit and there is eventually hell to pay.

    2. And wouldn’t $1200 bail result in $120 bond?

  8. Nah, C.J., fairly certain the easy part was not doing his job.

  9. Krasner’s was among the first and most significant victories in a well-funded campaign to elect civil libertarians to district attorney offices across the country, but he encountered political headwinds as violent crime in the city spiked.

    “Political headwinds”?! Is that all? Seems a rather mild characterization, like you’re trying to minimize the insanity of what he’s doing.
    To illustrate what I mean:
    “President Feelgood’s was the most significant victory in a campaign to elect pacifists to national offices, but he encountered political headwinds as the Uniteds States, with its military disbanded and nuclear weapons dismantled, was unable to defend itself from attacks by multiple foriegn enemies.”

  10. Oh boy..another pointy head liberal type…Phily was a great city when it had some law and order..Frank Rizzo a great Italian American who was hated by the jewish intellectuals who didn’t have to live in South Phily was loved by the working man…this guy sounds like a communist to me…get him out and a good Italian boy in there..

  11. I actually thought this was satire.

    500 murders in 2020, almost a record. Last I checked, murders are up 38% in 2021 so far so we’re gonna blow right through that record.

    Civil libertarian? Even the communist rag, the Inky wrote about the Soros bought & paid for plant (although they didn’t use those words). Soros also bought a Krasner-clone in a county right outside Philly in order to spread the love. And the death.

  12. I was really happy to learn that this series existed, then very disappointed to learn that PBS had expired all the episodes on July 1, 2021. I wish Reason had tipped us off earlier! Do you know of any way that the show will be still available to the public in the future?

    1. Sigh, nobody spoke up to help, but if future readers are still looking for the answer, you can find the whole miniseries at http://www.watch.topic.com. They charge $6 a month for membership but offer a free week trial.

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