Thompson Vows to 'Transform' D.A.'s Office
The day after locking up the Democratic nomination for Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth Thompson reaffirmed a campaign pledge to "transform" the agency.
"I'm excited and look forward to the very important work that awaits us," Thompson told reporters Wednesday near his Brooklyn home. "We have an opportunity now to transform the D.A.'s office, to make it the greatest law enforcement office in the country," he said.
Kenneth Thompson speaks to the press the day after his victory over Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes in the Democratic primary. NYLJ/Rick Kopstein
During what he acknowledged was "a very tough campaign," Thompson relentlessly attacked six-term incumbent Charles Hynes for low conviction rates, a passive stance on stop and frisk and an alleged pattern of wrongful convictions. But with the voting over, he struck a conciliatory note, thanking Hynes for his 24 years of service, crediting him for backing alternatives to incarceration and reentry programs.
Thompson said he would release in the coming weeks details of his agenda and transition team for an office that employs 500 attorneys and 1,200 staff to prosecute more than 115,000 misdemeanors and felonies a year.
Though some observers viewed Thompson's victory as surprising, Thompson said he was "not shocked," noting his win was based on "diverse" support. "I could feel people wanted change," he said.
In that mood, most voters apparently brushed aside Hynes' argument that his experience was far superior to Thompson's.
Thompson refused to say if he would make "wholesale changes in personnel." He emphasized that the jobs of rank-and-file assistants were "not in jeopardy" and promised to "motivate, support and encourage" prosecutors. But he did say that he would bring in "new people," putting "excellence over politics."
Thompson, 47, a first-time political candidate, scored a convincing 10-point win over a man who took office as Brooklyn's top prosecutor in 1990, making him the longest-serving district attorney in the borough's history by 12 years. Thompson is a former Eastern District prosecutor and founding partner of Thompson Wigdor, which, he said, will continue operations without him.
Hynes, 78, was the first elected Brooklyn district attorney defeated since 1911 and the first ousted in the city as a whole since 1955.