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Philly FOP backs Republican Beth Grossman for DA

The lodge has been after being critical of Democrat Larry Krasner's campaign for district attorney.

Beth Grossman, the Republican candidate for district attorney, was the FOP board members’ unanimous choice.
Beth Grossman, the Republican candidate for district attorney, was the FOP board members’ unanimous choice.Read moreCHRIS BRENNAN / Staff

Larry Krasner, the Democratic nominee for district attorney in Philadelphia, may have made peace with the Fraternal Order of Police.

But that doesn't mean the union will back him in the Nov. 7 general election

About 300 members of the FOP's board voted unanimously Tuesday evening to endorse Beth Grossman, the Republican nominee, who served for 21 years as an assistant district attorney.

The vote came after Krasner and Grossman each made a pitch at FOP Lodge 5 headquarters in Northeast Philadelphia.

FOP president John McNesby said his union's members raised questions about Krasner's opposition to the death penalty and to state legislation that would delay the release of the names of police officers involved in shootings.

"To his credit, he answered them all, and to our credit, they were respectful," McNesby said.

Grossman said she spoke for about seven to 10 minutes and was asked no questions.

"I think they understand my experience and what I bring to the table," she said.

It was a polite affair. Both candidates stopped in the union hall's bar for a beer after the endorsement.

Krasner said he wanted the union members to get to know him.

"My purpose was just to come up here and communicate directly with the membership," he said.

Krasner, a defense attorney for three decades, is best known for civil rights cases, representing protesters arrested at political conventions, Occupy Philly activists, and Black Lives Matter supporters.

He won the seven-candidate Democratic primary election May 16. Some people at his victory party chanted a profanity-laced message for the FOP and the phrase "No good cop in a racist system" before Krasner's campaign staff quieted them down.

McNesby wrote to Krasner after that, saying his union members suspected Krasner might "actively support and promote potentially violent police hate groups in Philadelphia."

U.S Rep. Robert Brady, chairman of the Democratic City Committee in Philadelphia, brokered a meeting between McNesby and Krasner on May 31. McNesby later called that discussion "more productive than I expected." Krasner called the meeting "constructive."

The FOP can be a potent political force. The union, long at odds with District Attorney Seth Williams, posted a billboard along I-95 at Aramingo Avenue in January that declared: "Help Wanted: New Philadelphia District Attorney, Please contact FOP Lodge 5."

Williams, a Democrat, dropped his bid for a third term in February and was indicted on federal corruption charges in March. He is currently standing trial on those charges.