District Attorney Charles Hynes runs a politically corrupt ship that needs to be cleaned from stem to stern, claims a prosecutor who hopes to boot the 23-year incumbent from office next year.
“We’ve lost trust in DA Hynes and that’s a huge problem for the community,” said Abe George, a Sheepshead Bay native and Williamsburg resident who stepped down from his post as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan to focus on his nascent campaign. “My election will be about restoring integrity to the office.”
Hynes has been in office since 1989, but George says Brooklyn’s current climate is ripe for change, claiming that the recent criticisms on Hynes’s chummy relationship with the ultra-Orthodox community around sex abuse crimes shows how far the district attorney has fallen from grace.
“He’s lost all credibility in prosecuting these sex crimes in the ultra-Orthodox community and as a result of that some of the political prosecution power we’ve had,” said George. “He’s failing to protect children and he’s failing to protect the public from crime.”
Hynes came under fire for being too cozy with Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox community — a powerful voting bloc — starting with a scathing piece in the New York Times that accused him of tacitly supporting a practice in which rabbis determine if a sex crime should be reported to police.
But George say Hynes’s shortcomings are not limited to his relationship with religious communities.
“Hynes has done a terrible job at addressing crimes in general,” he said, noting that Brooklyn leads the city in murders.
And the precipitous drop in crime in Brooklyn over the last twenty years is more national than a local phenomenon, George claims.
“We have to address the murders in Brownsville, East New York, and Bedford-Stuyvesant,” he said.
Thirty-eight percent of murders citywide last year occurred in Brooklyn.
George said that if he’s elected, he will work more closely with the police department to refine the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
“Stop-and-frisk is the purview of the District Attorney; he’s the chief law enforcer of the county and it’s his job to tell cops when they’ve crossed the line,” George said, claiming that stop-and-frisk leads to an excessive number of marijuana-related arrests. “We need to educate the police department to what the legal standard is and hold the line. It’s wrong to have people stopped without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.”
George, who went to Midwood High School before attending NYU as an undergraduate, said he will take a street-level approach to campaigning.
“I’m meeting with the communities, victims, churches, and mosques for the first 90 days to get on the ground and meet people,” he said. “I’m a city guy and a Brooklyn boy and it’s been frustrating to see how Brooklyn has suffered in different areas recently.”
Hynes declined to comment, but said through a spokeswoman that he would be running in 2013.
Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.