Eric Gonzalez introduced as head of Brooklyn DA’s office
The Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) and the Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) hosted a welcoming reception for the new Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in Brooklyn Heights on Wednesday night. The event gave Gonzalez a chance to formally introduce himself as the DA for the first time since the passing of Ken Thompson.
“We don’t often have this opportunity to see a change in office, but I think it’s important because the role of DA in the County of Kings is a very intense role,” said Hon. Frank Seddio, president of the BBA. “It plays an important part in the criminal justice system. It’s important that we have a fair, solid, common sense person who is of good will as much as he knows the law.”
The event, which was officially called a meet and greet, was mostly informal with members of the two bar associations and the Brooklyn DA’s office getting a chance to know each other better. Presidents Seddio and Michael Farkas, of the BBA and KCCBA respectively, each spoke briefly and then Gonzalez spoke about himself, the late Thompson and his plans for the office.
Farkas talked about how happy he was when he heard that Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided against officially replacing Thompson after he passed and instead allowed Gonzalez to take over leadership as acting DA.
“This is a very personal experience for me as president of the Criminal Bar Association,” Farkas said. “Although this comes from the tragedy of losing a visionary and such an effective district attorney at such a young age, I’ve likened it to the mythical story of the phoenix rising from the ashes. We have the real fortunate pleasure and honor of having an acting DA who is competent, experienced and well meaning, but also a great human being who is really, really loved by the community.”
Gonzalez, who is a board member of the KCCBA, went into his background as the son of Puerto Rican immigrants who grew up very poor in Williamsburg and then East New York. He said that it was growing up on those tough streets that made him decide at the age of 10 to pursue a career as a prosecutor.
Gonzalez, who went to John Dewey High School in Gravesend, then Cornell and eventually University of Michigan School of Law, also talked about continuing Thompson’s legacy.
“It’s exactly one month to the day that my friend and mentor passed away,” Gonzalez said. “I want to take a moment to recognize him and to thank him for helping to change the arc of the office.
“The office has been really good at convicting people over the years, but he brought a commitment to justice and fairness to the office that has been changing what the people of Brooklyn think about prosecutors.
“I am completely committed to following his legacy and strengthening what he intended it to be,” Gonzalez continued. “That clearly is the most progressive DA’s office in the country. That was his commitment and that is my commitment. I want all of you to know that you’re partners in this.”
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