Councilmember Vincent Gentile joins race for Brooklyn DA
‘As an Outsider, Only I Can Carry on Thompson’s Legacy’
After mulling it over for the past few months, city Councilmember Vincent Gentile finally declared on Wednesday that he will run for district attorney in Kings County in the upcoming election next fall.
“I’m pleased and thrilled to announce that I am going to enter the race to be Brooklyn’s next district attorney,” Gentile said on NY1’s Inside City Hall with Errol Louis Wednesday night.
Gentile, who will be term-limited out of office at the end of the year, painted himself as an outsider despite 14 years in the City Council and six more years as a New York state senator, because unlike many of the other people expected to run, he has no ties to the Brooklyn DA’s Office.
“The worst rap that a DA’s Office can have is that you are convicting people wrongfully,” Gentile explained. “[Former DA Ken Thompson] came in as an outsider and went ahead and uncovered those wrongful convictions. I’m the only one in this race that can pick up the mantle from Ken Thompson because I’m the only one in the race that has no ties to the Brooklyn DA’s Office.”
Gentile went on to explain that his opponents all have a “checkered past” since they worked for former DA Charles Hynes, who was in charge when most of the 22 overturned convictions originally took place.
“They were in the office, in management roles during the time of Charles Hynes and during the time these wrongful convictions were being had,” Gentile said. “To ask any one of them to turn around and do the job Ken Thompson did is a little much.”
Gentile is a former prosecutor with the Queens District Attorney’s Office where he worked for 11 years prior to running for public office. He admitted that he hasn’t worked as an attorney for 20 years since then, but said that because of his experience, that he would be uniquely qualified to advocate for changes in the law.
“Using the platform of the Brooklyn DA and as a former member of the NYS Senate would give me a very strategic position to advocate for changes in the law,” Gentile said. “Whether that be bail reform, speedy trial, raise the age, whatever those issues are.”
Gentile, a Democrat who lost a race for U.S. Congress against Republican Dan Donovan in 2015, is currently being sued by a former staffer who claims to have been harassed by other staff members while working for Gentile because he is autistic.
“Thankfully, I’m confident that matter will be resolved soon,” Gentile said. “Obviously, I’m not permitted by the city to talk specifically about the matters, but I’m confident that it will be resolved soon and my overall record with my staff really speaks for itself.”
Gentile was also the subject of a sexual harassment complaint from 2004. However, an 11-month investigation found no evidence and charges were dropped. At the time, Gentile chalked that up to a disgruntled former employee, according to various media reports.
Gentile joins a crowded race for Kings County district attorney that is expected to include Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, District Leader Anne Swern, Special Counsel to the Borough President Ama Dwimoh, Patricia Gatling, Marc Fliedner and John Gangemi.
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