Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has passed away after battling cancer.
The news was confirmed through a statement released Sunday night. Report indicate that at the time of his death, Thompson’s family was by his side.
“With a heavy heart, the family of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced that the District Attorney passed away today after a hard fought battle with cancer,” the statement said.
Brooklyn Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement released Sunday night that he was privleged to work with Thompson and plans to comtinue his initiatives.
“[Thompson] transformed the Office into a model urban prosecutor’s office, with a mandate to do justice and treat everyone and every case fairly and with utmost integrity,” Gonzalez said. “Among his many initiatives, he created a model for correcting wrongful convictions, instituted a marijuana policy that would later be replicated citywide and started a summons forgiveness program that would also be instituted in several other jurisdictions. Our sincere prayers are with his wife, children and loved ones. May he rest in peace, knowing that he has made Brooklyn and New York City a better place.”
Thompson announced a week ago that he had cancer and would temporarily step down from his post to battle the illness.
Taking office in 2014, Thompson was Brooklyn’s first African-American district attorney. He leaves behind his wife, Lu-Shawn, and two children.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is directing flags to half staff in honor of Thompson.
Statements from officials and leaders
Rev. Al Sharpton: Deeply saddened at the news of the passing of Ken Thompson. He had Thurgood Marshall like passion for justice. RIP.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “I am profoundly saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson after a battle with cancer. Ken was a dedicated public servant who embodied the highest principles of the law, and his grand presence will be sorely missed.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray: “The thoughts and prayers of our entire city are with District Attorney Ken Thompson, his family and his loved ones tonight. With a life and promise cut far too short, our city was blessed with but a glimpse of Ken’s unwavering commitment to justice and his unrivaled pursuit of a more fair system for all those he served. Our courtrooms and our communities have no doubt been dealt a blow with Ken’s passing, but I am confident the indelible mark left by his public service will forever be a part of the fabric of our justice system. Tonight we mourn the loss of a champion of reform. Our task now will be to rise each day forward in the spirit Ken lived his life.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance: “I was privileged to work with Ken, first in his capacity as a gifted courtroom advocate, and subsequently during his too-brief tenure as a public servant committed to advancing public safety and justice reform for the People of Kings County. Ken and I began as courtroom adversaries but became friends. I will truly miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Lu-Shawn, the Thompson family, and our partners in Brooklyn.”
Assemblymember Michael Blake: “I am beyond at a loss that Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson is gone. He was a remarkable person and exceptional public servant. He would always ask me how was I doing, encourage me as a Black man in politics, discuss new ideas for criminal justice reform, remind me of his love for Brooklyn and The Bronx and to never forget that his wife’s family are our constituents so always stay nice!”
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman: “I am devastated to learn of the death of my dear friend and colleague, Ken Thompson. Ken was a wonderful and committed public servant. In less than three years as District Attorney, Ken had an indelible impact on Brooklyn, our city, and our criminal justice system. Ken practiced law with a sense of fairness and respect for everyone in the courtroom and cared deeply and fought hard to advance the cause of civil rights. As an elected official, Ken embodied the highest ideals of public service, always doing what he believed was right, not just what was popular. Ken Thompson’s time in public office will shine as an example to those of us in law enforcement for years to come.”
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark: “My prayers go out to the family of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, who lost his battle with cancer after accomplishing so much good for the citizens of his County, State, and Nation as a true warrior in the fight for justice.In his short tenure, he was in the vanguard of a new approach to criminal justice, with initiatives such as the Conviction Review Unit and the “Begin Again” program that I and other prosecutors have emulated. Ken Thompson was a dedicated public servant, and I was privileged to learn much from him during the last year while we served together as District Attorneys in the City of New York. I shall forever be grateful to him for his counsel, friendship and words of wisdom. May God bless him and his family in this time of sorrow, and may his family find some comfort in his splendid legacy.”
Council Member Jumaane Williams: “I am shocked, stunned and saddened by this sudden lost. Anyone who looks back at his entire body of work will find a successful and impressive man who was committed to social justice; from seeking justice for Abner Louima to exonerating dozens of innocent men, he has proven his resolve to equity. My prayers for peace and comfort go out to his family, friends, coworkers and all who was touched by his life or work.”