New prosecutors for Eastern District with a focus on violent crime
Brooklyn and Long Island are getting a pair of new Assistant U.S. Attorneys after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Friday that the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) is one of 27 selected locations in the U.S. to receive additional resources dedicated solely on violent crime.
Friday was the first official day for Interim U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, who was hired specifically for his experience prosecuting violent criminals. Sessions has wasted little time in dedicating more resources as EDNY focuses on violent gangs like MS-13.
“The provision of additional assistant U.S. attorney (AUSA) positions reflects the commitment of the Department of Justice to reduce violent crime by identifying and prosecuting gang members whose destructive conduct endangers residents of our district,” Donoghue said.
“Using every law enforcement resource available, this Office and the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force will continue to work tirelessly to make our communities safer by bringing to justice those violent criminals who show no regard for human life,” Donoghue continued.
The additional focus on violent crime is a part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) task forces, which is a program created in 2001 under President George W. Bush with the aim at reducing gun violence. Sessions said that he has asked the U.S. Congress for more funding to expand the program.
“Led by our 94 United States Attorney’s offices, PSN task forces are hitting the streets across America to apprehend and bring violent criminals to justice,” Sessions said. “I have asked Congress for additional PSN funding because I believe nothing will be more effective at reducing violent crime.”
While the main focus of the new AUSAs will be MS-13 in Long Island, the Department of Justice said that they will also focus on gangs such as the Crips, Bloods, Latin Kings, 18th Street gang, Salvadorans with Pride, the Outlaw motorcycle gangs and other gangs with large presences in New York City and Brooklyn.
“Under this program, I am asking a great deal of our United States attorneys,” Sessions said. “I am both empowering them and holding them accountable for results. To put them in the best position to impact and reduce violent crime, it is my privilege to announce that through a reallocation of resources, we will be enlisting and deploying 40 additional violent crime prosecutors across the United States.”
Murder was down in Brooklyn in 2017 compared to 2016, from 128 incidents to 110, per NYPD CompStat reports. Shooting incidents and shooting victims were also down significantly last year with 415 incidents and 500 victims in 2016, to 295 incidents and 351 victims in 2017. In 2001 there were 256 murders in Brooklyn and in 1990 there were 765, according to NYPD reports.
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