Written by Rakia Reynolds
Photography by Whitney Thomas
African-American district attorney in the city of
At 44 years old, this Philly native and former public defender is shaking things up in the district attorneyâ€™s office. He won his election with a huge margin of 75 percent and is the first black DA in Pennsylvaniaâ€™s history. â€œThere has to be a paradigm shift on what it means to be a prosecutor,â€ says Williams. â€œIf youâ€™re tough on everything, you end up being tough on nothing. The shift has to change to crime prevention; we have to address all the problems, including truancy and drugs.â€
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV LAWYERS?
Jack McCoy on Law & Order and Eugene Young and Bobby Donnell on The Practice.
WHY PROSECUTION OVER DEFENSE?
In college, I was president of the Black Caucus, got arrested, and led marches to have the university divest from South Africa. I was accepted to Georgetown University Law School as a public-interest scholar. The majority of our folks are good people, but Pookie and Man-Man are making it bad for everybody. The DA has a lot of power and discretion to say who will be arrested and for what.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR HARDEST CASE?
Trying to persuade the public [to rethink their viewpoint of] crime and punishment.