Philly Police Union Wields Ice Cream in Campaign Stunt Against DA

The union has a long history of sparring with District Attorney Larry Krasner, a former defense lawyer who was elected off a platform of reforming the criminal justice system

A Philadelphia police officer stands in front of a truck and orders ice cream.

It’s not election season without a political stunt or two, and Philadelphia’s police union delivered Friday, giving out free soft-serve ice cream in its latest salvo against what they say is the city’s “soft-on-crime” district attorney.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5 posted up outside the DA’s office with an ice cream truck and a billboard to give out Mister Softee soft serve as they once again railed against Larry Krasner and encouraged people to vote for his opponent, Carlos Vega, in the upcoming May 18 primary election.

“We are reminding residents about Larry Krasner’s soft-on-crime policies that have made Philadelphia unsafe and dangerous,” FOP President John McNesby said in a press release. “Krasner’s failed social experiment is costing lives all across this city.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Krasner's campaign pointed out that he has received more than sixty endorsements from people and groups who "represent constituencies from all over this city." Krasner's campaign spokesperson went on to say that those who endorse him "speak for the community, not the powerful, and we're proud that today they are out working to better Philadelphia rather than serving ice cream and spending money on publicity stunts."

McNesby and the police union have a long history of sparring with Krasner, a former defense lawyer who was elected district attorney off a platform of reforming the criminal justice system. His opponents often argue that his prosecutorial approach has made the city less safe.

Meanwhile, Krasner has delivered for his progressive supporters, counting among his accomplishments an overhaul of Philadelphia's cash bail system, support for decriminalization of certain minor crimes and pushing for better policing – while prosecuting police officers accused of misconduct in the process.

His opponent, for decades an assistant district attorney in the city, was among the three dozen veteran prosecutors fired by Krasner when he took office in 2018 as he sought to change the culture of the DA’s office.

Vega is currently suing Krasner over his firing, and argues that the incumbent has failed to keep Philadelphians safe.

"We can’t afford another four years of Krasner’s failures. We are on track to lose nearly 600+ Philadelphians this year, and Larry Krasner has yet to take responsibility for this crisis or provide meaningful solutions that will save lives," Vega told NBC10.

Krasner’s campaign, though, paints Vega as a step back.

"Carlos Vega’s way of doing things is simply to turn back the clock to a time when convictions were pursued regardless of truth, where the (District Attorney's Office) did not worry about mistakes, and where it never dared question police or hold law enforcement accountable," Krasner's campaign manager Brandon Evans earlier told NBC10.

Both candidates are running as Democrats. Given the overwhelming number of Democrats in Philadelphia, the May 18 winner will also be the presumptive winner of November’s general election.

HOW TO VOTE IN MAY 18 PRIMARY: Registered Democrats in Philadelphia will be able to cast votes in the race between Vega and Krasner. The deadline to register to vote or to change your party designation is 5 p.m. on May 3. Voter applicants can use Pennsylvania's online voter registration system, and traditional paper voter registration forms must be received in county voter registration offices by close of business on May 3.  

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