For the first time in more than two decades, Brooklyn has a new District Attorney. First Democrat Ken Thompson defeated longtime Democratic incumbent DA Charles Hynes in the primary, then he beat him again last night after Hynes reversed himself and decided to run in the general election on the Republican and Conservative ticket.
Thompson will become Brooklyn's first black District Attorney, winning with almost 75 percent of the vote, while Hynes took 25 percent. In his acceptance speech last night, Thompson told supporters, "I am truly grateful and deeply humbled, for the people of Brooklyn have taken a man who started out in life with the odds stacked against him and made him the next district attorney of Brooklyn."
It was the end of a long, ugly campaign and a stunning upset for Hynes, who had established himself over the years as an indomitable force in Kings County. But during the past several years, criticism of Hynes's conduct intensified. His office's alleged failure to adequately prosecute sex offenders in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community was a major factor in the race, as was a disturbing pattern of wrongful convictions. Hynes's unflagging support of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy was another handicap in an election year when public opinion was swung the other way.
"We must ensure that no man or woman is convicted wrongfully again," Thompson said in his speech last night. "We must free all the people who have been convicted wrongfully."
An article in today's Post claims that Thompson refused to accept a concession call from Hynes, because of all the bad blood unleashed by the campaigns. But a source familiar with the Thompson campaign says a Hynes rep called after 11 p.m. to say that Hynes wanted to wait another half hour before conceding, allegedly to keep Thompson's victory speech off the 11 o'clock news. "Leave it to the New York Post to fabricate another story in an attempt to generate sympathy for one of the most ungracious losing candidates in NYC history," the source added.
Thompson, who grew up in Brooklyn as the son of one of the first female NYPD officers to walk a beat, rose to prominence as an Assistant U.S. Attorney working on the Abner Louima case, prosecuting NYPD officer Justin Volpe. After leaving the U.S. Attorney’s office, Thompson went into private practice, most famously representing Nafissatou Diallo, the housekeeper who claimed IMF-head Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her.