Thompson beats Hynes in DA race; “Integrity” a concern for both sides

Bronx-born Kenneth Thompson cemented his historic victory over 23-year incumbent Charles J. Hynes for the position of Brooklyn district attorney after a surprisingly contentious election season that began with Thompson’s surprise win in the Democratic primary.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the unofficial results have Thompson ahead with 74.7 percent (222,348) of the votes and Hynes, running on the Republican and Conservative lines, with 25.2 percent (74,943) of the votes.

The landslide victory didn’t surprise some of the DA-elect’s staunchest supporters, who described the former federal prosecutor as a man of “integrity,” “values,” “experience,” “heart,” “vision,” “intelligence” and “drive.”

“It is a tremendous night,” said Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries, a long-time friend and supporter of Thompson’s who was among the volunteers, family, friends and politicians at Thompson’s election night party in Clinton Hill’s Sanders Studios. “He will do what’s necessary to keep Brooklyn safe and respect the civil rights and civil liberties of this community.”

In his victory speech, Thompson, 48 — the first person to unseat a sitting DA in over 100 years, and also the first African-American Brooklyn district attorney — said he was “extremely grateful and deeply humbled” to be given the chance to tackle wrongful convictions, illegal guns, gun and domestic violence, and overuse of stop-and-frisk, as well as to bridge the distrust between law enforcement and the community.

“We must end the belief in no-snitching, which allows [offenders] to prey upon us,” he said, adding that he ran for DA after being inspired by Brooklyn, Shirley Chisholm, his wife, his pastor, his faith and his goal of creating a “Brooklyn DA’s office based on fairness and integrity.”

Integrity was also a major platform point for the Hynes campaign, with volunteers wearing red t-shirts emblazoned with white lettering declaring “Vote for Integrity. Re-Elect Charles “Joe” Hynes” for District Attorney.”

Charles “Joe” Hynes, with wife Patricia, after hearing poll numbers at his election night party in Bay Ridge. (BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by SB News)

“Hynes has always believed in in-treatment, not incarceration,” said Donna Mae DePola, a mental health and substance abuse treatment advocate who founded The Resource Training Center in Sunset Park. “He’s smart, knowing that you can’t give too many chances before reining them in, but you do need to first give them a chance.”

Geoffrey Davis, of the James E. Davis Stop Violence Foundation in Crown Heights, noted that Hynes has been “passionate and aggressive in addressing gun and domestic violence and we’ll continue to work with them on projects such as Project Safe Surrender, the Youth Courts, and Back on Track.”

Davis, whose brother, former Councilmember James Davis, was shot to death in 2003 inside City Hall by a political rival, responded to Hynes’ critics by saying that “anytime you run a huge organization and actually have a resume, you’ll be criticized. Hynes is 99 percent good. He has helped tens of thousands of adults and youths over the year.”

In recent years, however, Hynes has been faced with concerns about wrongful convictions within the Brooklyn D.A.’s office and allegations that he did not adequately pursue allegations of sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community.

The Brooklyn DA’s office is one of the largest and busiest in the country, handling over 80,000 cases a year.

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