Eric Gonzalez, the acting District Attorney of Brooklyn and successor to the late Kenneth Thompson, today made it official: He’s running for a full term in office this year.
Gonzalez made the announcement of his upcoming election campaign at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton Street. Accompanying Gonzalez at the event were his parents, his wife, his children and several of his peers, including Public Advocate Letitia James and Ken Thompson’s widow Lu-Shawn Thompson.
Both James and the former Mrs. Thompson vouched for Gonzalez’s ability to continue the legacy of his predecessor and mentor, who lost his life to cancer last October.
“Eric Gonzalez saw up-close, in real time, Ken Thompson’s tireless exertion to balance those scales of justice, while Ken struggled with his own pain,” said James. “He knows these streets. He knows the good, the bad and the ugly of Brooklyn. And Eric Gonzalez has already proven himself; he’s stood with me.”
Gonzalez began his career in politics as the chief assistant for Ken Thompson, who was elected District Attorney in 2013. In Gonzalez’s words, the Thompson administration was, “transformative” and, “a turning point for Brooklyn’s DA office.”
To back up that claim, Gonzalez cited several of the initiatives started by his predecessor, such as the formation of the Conviction Review Unit, an office created to re-examine questionable convictions and provide justice to the wrongly accused.
“It has been a privilege for me…to have worked hand-in-hand with Ken,” said Gonzalez.
Since taking office after Thompson’s untimely death, Gonzalez has done everything in his power to reshape Brooklyn in accordance with the late Thompson’s vision. This meant improving relations between civilians and law enforcement, providing second chances to young lawbreakers who made mistakes, and protecting immigrants from being unjustly deported for minor transgressions.
While discussing the importance of reducing incarceration rates among young people, Gonzalez talked about his own personal history as a lifelong Brooklyn resident, growing up in what he called the “crack cocaine era” of Brooklyn. By his account, he can empathize with the troubled youth of his borough because he was once in their shoes.
“There’s not a day that goes by in my life that I don’t think about how I, if not for the grace of God, could have been on the other side of the law,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez also talked about his plans for continued immigration reform, particularly his plan to reduce unwarranted deportations.
“We have just hired immigration attorneys to consult on cases, and provide training to all assistant DAs, so that no one in Brooklyn gets deported unfairly,” said Gonzalez. “A low-level offense shouldn’t result in a family member, or a member of our community, being torn apart from their community by misguided policies.”
At the heart of the late Thompson’s vision, said Gonzalez, was the idea that we don’t have to choose between the safety of the innocent and justice for the accused. If elected, declared Gonzalez, he will see to it that Thompson’s vision will be fulfilled.
“Continuing the work of Ken Thompson is more than just reducing crime,” said Gonzalez. “It’s also about reforming the criminal justice system, that has denied equal justice to too many.”