PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A former Philadelphia prosecutor who sued the city's district attorney for wrongful termination announced Thursday he's running against Larry Krasner — alongside families of victims who criticized Krasner's handling of cases.
Carlos Vega announced his candidacy for next year's district attorney race, in front of the office he worked in for 30 years as an assistant district attorney, half that time as a homicide prosecutor.
He was fired shortly after Krasner took office, and filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, citing age discrimination. The suit is still pending in federal court.
"I am a man of color, a minority, a father," he said. "As I have fought for you, I need you to fight with me."
Vega called mass incarceration a "talking point."
"There are people who need to go away, they are violent criminals who have harmed us, and destroyed our quality life," he said. "There are those people who you exercise some compassion, in terms of if they need help."
And he said he'd prosecute those who vandalize property, relating it to this year's unrest.
"There is peaceful protest, but you cannot use that as an excuse to steal and destroy this city," he said.
Families for two victims spoke on his behalf, criticizing Krasner.
"For three years we worked together," recounted Aleida Silva-Garcia, whose brother Alex was murdered in 2015, "until the current district attorney changed everything without notice, and assigned a less experienced prosecutor who didn't know our case. We were re-traumatized."
Krystal Vargas lost her 15-year-old sister Petra. Two of four men were caught and convicted in the killing.
"One of the men was granted release because he was a juvenile lifer," she explained, in exchange for information on the other shooters.
"What was told to me and my family when we questioned where are these men, why haven't they been brought in. They are alive, they're walking free. 'These cases are complicated, Ms. Vargas. People don't like to touch these complicated cases.'"
Defense attorney Charles Peruto Jr. announced he is also running, but has said he supports Vega's campaign.