Cease and desist! In quest to become ‘progressive’ DA, candidates list laws they won’t enforce

Who’s next?: Marc Fliedner was one of several District Attorney candidates who spoke to a packed room during a forum on Sept. 7.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

The prosecution rests!

Crime fighters vying to become Brooklyn’s next District Attorney presented a laundry list of laws they would not enforce if elected during a debate at the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College on Sept. 7.

Candidates in the crowded race for the seat each tried to position themselves as the most-progressive reformer by vowing to let accused turnstile jumpers, sex-sellers, and pot-smokers off without a trial. pledging to reform a criminal justice system that they say unfairly incarcerates minorities and the poor.

“The District Attorney needs to not only be a crime fighter, but a civil rights crusader and so I’m going to tell you what I’m not going to do,” said candidate Pat Gatling, who once headed the city’s anti-discrimination Commission on Human Rights. “I’m not going to prosecute people for marijuana offenses, I’m not going to prosecute for prostitution because I believe prostitutes are victims, and I’m not going to add resisting arrest to disorderly conduct, and I’m not going to prosecute resisting arrest”

The four other candidates who made it to the debate, Anne Swern, Marc Fliedner, Ama Dwimoh, and acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, followed suit, saying they would get rid of a cash-only bail system, promising to not charge turnstile jumpers or fare evaders, and to continue to review the cases of those wrongfully convicted — continuing the legacy of late District Attorney Ken Thompson, who died in office last October.

Vincent Gentile, who is also on the ballot, was a no-show.

Gonzalez remains the front runner for the seat, and some that showed up said they were unmoved by the group’s show of solidarity regarding the issues.

“I didn’t hear anything else that suggested I needed to change my mind,” said an East Flatbush resident who gave her first name, Alicia, who mostly agreed with the candidates insistence on not enforcing minor offenses. “We want justice, but we also want fairness, I don’t think we should give criminals a slap on the wrist, we still need to be fair.”

Gentile’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment why he did not show up.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Making his pitch: Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez answers a question during the forum.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

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