Philly DA’s Office, 2007-Present
Notable Events and Positions
O’Neill began his young career under DA Lynne “Queen of Death” Abraham, and has spent the past 10 years at the DA’s office.
Some of his cases include prosecuting a Catholic priest for felony sexual assault. He was on the team investigating child deaths in Philadelphia in 2010 and 2013, including the racial disparities in child death. He was also on the team that prosecuted Ron Dove, a police officer who was charged with hiding his girlfriend and helping her cover up murdering her ex.
His platform includes diverting people arrested for drugs to treatment instead of jail; and offering “an opportunity to get a college degree” rather than send people charged with felonies to jail.
O’Neill’s round-two campaign finance documents were not filed with the election commission.
Eight building trade unions endorsed O’Neill, who responded by promising a labor liaison in the DA’s office for “direct and constant communication” with someone who “sticks up for you.”
Trade unions are infamous for “intimidation, harassment, vandalism, violence – and impunity” in Philadelphia. In 2014, 10 members of Ironworkers Union (which endorsed O’Neill) were indicted by the FBI and US Attorney’s Office for “beating contractors and non-union workers with baseball bats, setting construction equipment on fire, cutting metal beams, and other counts of old-school, dockworker-style violence.”
What do labor unions have to do with the DA? The DA’s office is in charge of prosecuting.
Current District Attorney Seth Williams said in 2015 that he was willing to pursue criminal investigations no matter where they led. That turned out to be untrue. He demoted a deputy shortly after she recommended charging Philly’s most infamous union boss, John Dougherty, “for allegedly punching a non-union electrician at a South Philly worksite.”
John Dougherty heads Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. That union wrote a $6,400 check directly to a children’s summer camp to send Seth Williams’ daughters to Japan and Spain for vacation.
Williams recused his office from investigating Dougherty. Williams has since been indicted with 23 federal counts of corruption. At the same time, the FBI has raided union offices and homes, building what may be a racketeering case against the Local 98 over its political strong-arming.
That hasn’t stopped Dougherty from weighing in on the DA’s race, and he is throwing his weight behind O’Neill, reportedly purchasing $120,000 worth of TV ads for the candidate.