You state, “The culture of the Philadelphia DA’s office must change. What must change?
The current culture focuses on bringing as many cases against as many defendants—which means poor people—as possible. We have one public school after another closing in Philadelphia, but oh so many jail cells. Building more jail cells causes the cycle of poverty, which causes crime.
What is the relationship between street violence and the institutionalized violence of poverty?
Violence can be defined in terms of the trauma people suffer when they are poor, when they have no hope. People who have been traumatized tend to end up in jail. A long time ago we accepted a prevention model in public health, we need to be willing to accept one in the realm of criminal justice.
You sued the Philadelphia Police Department 75 times. How will you hold police accountable as DA?
It’s not that complicated to treat people who wear uniforms the same as people who don’t.
What is the relationship between protests and law enforcement?
Every single police officer or member of law enforcement or firefighter who’s not a white man, got there because of protests. There’s a direct connection between the people who are enforcing the law, the people passing laws, and the people on the streets protesting.
What is your campaign’s national significance?
I’ve been very clear, for example, that we aren’t going to pursue the death penalty. Every political operative thought that was foolhardy, but 50,000 unexpected voters turned out for my primary election. If this is duplicated in other counties, you are going to see progressive candidates winning up and down the slate.