Brooklyn Boro

Acting DA Gonzalez announces LGBTQ initiative during Pride Month celebration

June 21, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn’s Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced an LGBTQ Initiative on Tuesday aimed at helping the LGBTQ community. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

Brooklyn’s Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced an LGBTQ Initiative during a Pride Month celebration where four were honored at Brooklyn Law School on Tuesday afternoon. 

The initiative is aimed at better serving the LGBTQ community in Brooklyn by providing assistant district attorneys with training to ensure they are culturally equipped to handle LGBTQ-specific crime victims. It will also include outreach to the community so LGBTQ members feel safe reporting crimes to the district attorney’s office. 

“As prosecutors charged with keeping the community safe, it is important that we establish a safe space for the LGBTQ community to report when they are victims of crime, especially since crimes against this community have historically been underreported and violence against transgender women of color continues to rise,” Gonzalez said.

“Also, in an effort to prevent future crimes, our office will offer, where appropriate, alternative sentences to LGBTQ youth defendants including programs that specialize in their particular needs to help reduce recidivism and connect them with appropriate services,” he continued.

In addition to office-wide training and outreach, the initiative also aims to research, create and enhance current alternative to incarceration sentencing programs for LGBTQ defendants. This includes, but is not limited to, drug treatment, anger management and other appropriate programs for vulnerable populations. Education materials will also be created to teach the local LGBTQ community about DA services. 

The acting DA also used Tuesday’s event as an opportunity to honor attorney Kylar W. Broadus, of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, as well as three community groups — the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, The Ali Forney Center and Caribbean American Pride.

At the event, Gonzalez touted the work his office has done to continue to lower crime in Brooklyn, which was at record lows in 2016. However, he admitted that there is work to be done in “pockets” of Brooklyn including with the LGBTQ community, which is often victimized. 

“We think about district attorneys offices of prosecuting crime, and we do that very well in Brooklyn, 2016 was the safest year in recorded history in Brooklyn and we’re continuing to be even safer, but there are pockets of challenge and clearly there is a disturbing uptick in the hate-crime arena. 

“We’re here to say publicly and loudly that we stand by the LGBTQ community,” Gonzalez said “We are a part of that community, we’re not separate. We need to be present in your lives and to make sure you know that this office is about keeping the community safe.”