Local City Councilmember Vincent Gentile has officially thrown his hat into the race for Brooklyn district attorney.
Gentile, who serves the 43rd District of the City Council, which includes Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights, looks to fill the seat currently held by Acting D.A. Eric Gonzalez. Gonzalez took over the position after the late D.A. Ken Thompson died of cancer this past October.
Although Thompson’s tenure as D.A. was cut short, he will be remembered for his efforts to reform the office, after defeating former longtime holder Charles Hynes, the later years of whose tenure were marred by allegations of misconduct and corruption. Among Thompson’s achievements were the creation of the country’s largest conviction review unit, which has overturned at least 21 wrongful convictions.
In an appearance on “Inside City Hall,” Gentile — a Bay Ridge-born-and-raised Democrat — announced he would be joining what has quickly become a very crowded field of candidates. Other potential and announced candidates include Gonzalez and two of Hynes’ first deputy D.A.s Anne Swern and Patricia Gatling, as well as Ama Dwimoh, an aide to Borough President Eric Adams, who spent time in the Brooklyn D.A.’s office under Hynes; Marc Fliedner, another former prosecutor under Hynes; and three former Hynes opponents, attorney Arnie Kriss, former Manhattan prosecutor Abe George, and City Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters.
Gentile emphasized that unlike the competition, he is not linked to the checkered past of Hynes’ administration.
“I am the only candidate who can effectively apply objectivity, and without fear of favor, deliver justice for the residents of Brooklyn,” Gentile said.
Although looking to run as an outsider, Gentile is not one to be above controversy himself.
Just this past December, Michael Bistreich, a former legislative aide for Gentile, filed a $10 million lawsuit alleging that Gentile and his staff tormented him because he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which drove him to quit his position.
Gentile hopes to look past that on his way to possibly becoming the next Brooklyn DA.
He said, “I’m entering this race with a proven track record as an elected official, having passed legislation and secured funding at both the state and city level that benefits parents, working families, seniors, at-risk youth and members of the law enforcement community.
“I am excited to bring that experience to bear as the next Brooklyn District Attorney,” Gentile added.
Gentile previously served as a New York state senator from 1996 to 2002. For the past 14 years, he has been a New York City councilmember, a role he must give up at the end of this year due to term limits.