District Attorney Ken Thompson dead at 50

District Attorney Ken Thompson dead at 50
Ken Thompson

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson died on Oct. 9 after losing a battle with cancer, according to his office. He was 50 years old.

The borough’s top prosecutor passed away at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital surrounded by his loved ones, who announced the death on Sunday evening.

“With a heavy heart, the family of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced that the district attorney passed away today after a hard fought battle with cancer,” his office said in a release.

Thompson only revealed that he was sick last week, announcing that Chief Assistant Eric Gonzalez would act in his stead while he was undergoing treatment. His office would not say what type of cancer he had or when he was diagnosed, although Thompson said at the time that he intended to “fight and win” against the disease.

The son of one of the first female police officers to go out on patrol in New York City, Thompson grew up in the Bronx and graduated from New York University School of Law then worked as an attorney for the U.S. Treasury Department and as a federal prosecutor.

The Clinton Hill resident became the borough’s first African-American district attorney in 2014 after defeating Charles Hynes, who held the post for 22 years.

Thompson ran on platform of reform and police accountability, and set up a special unit to comb through wrongful convictions from his predecessor’s tenure, ultimately exonerating 20 people, according to a New York Times report.

But he also came under fire earlier this year for recommending former police officer and Bensonhurst resident Peter Liang serve no jail time after a jury found the rookie cop guilty of shooting and killing unarmed Red Hook man Akai Gurley in 2014.

Gov. Cuomo ordered all flags to be flown at half-mast on Monday as a tribute to Thompson’s “enduring legacy,” and other elected officials expressed their condolences and kind words on Sunday evening.

“With a life and promise cut far too short, our city was blessed with but a glimpse of Ken’s unwavering commitment to justice and his unrivaled pursuit of a more fair system for all those he served,” said Mayor DeBlasio. “Our courtrooms and our communities have no doubt been dealt a blow with Ken’s passing, but I am confident the indelible mark left by his public service will forever be a part of the fabric of our justice system.”

Thompson leaves behind his wife Lu-Shawn and his two kids Kennedy and Kenny, as well as his own parents and two siblings.

Reach deputy editor Ruth Brown at rbrown@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8309. Follow her at twitter.com/rbbrown.