Brooklyn DA Race Likely Will Be One of City's Most Competitive

While it hasn’t yet attracted much public attention, one of the most competitive races in the city this year is likely to be that for Brooklyn district attorney. NY1's Bobby Cuza takes a closer look.

Most of the candidates running for the Brooklyn district attorney seat left open by the shocking death of 50-year-old Ken Thompson last year are jockeying to line up behind his legacy of reform that includes, among other things, a focus on wrongful convictions.

"Ken started the work that needed to be done to transform that office. And I plan on going back to continuing that work," said candidate Ama Dwimoh.

Dwimoh is one of many candidates with deep experience in the DA's office. She worked there 21 years, creating a crimes against children bureau, and now works for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Patricia Gatling spent 15 years in the office, rising to first assistant DA, and later spent 13 years as the city's Human Rights Commissioner.

"I have experience," she said.

Anne Swern, meanwhile, spent more than 30 years in the DA's office and led alternative sentencing efforts.

"I'm very proud of a lot of the reform efforts that I delivered on way before people started to talk about them," Swern said.

The one elected offical in the race is Vincent Gentile, who is being term-limited out of the City Council. A former state senator who more recently waged an unsuccessful campaign for Congress, Gentile suggests the others are tainted by their experience.

"They were in the office in management roles during the time of Charles Hynes, and during the time that these wrongful convictions were being had," Gentile said.

Perhaps no one has a larger built-in advantage than Eric Gonzalez, who was named acting DA by Thompson shortly before his death, and who dwarfs the others in fundraising, but has not yet officially declared.

Marc Fliedner, as head of the DA's civil rights bureau, tried the recent high-profile case of police officer Peter Liang. He later stepped down and blasted Thompson's leadership. 

Rounding out the field is, John Gangemi, age 78, a city councilman in the 1970s who has the most campaign experience, having launched a run for borough president in 2013 and for Congress back in 1972.

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