District Attorney Ken Thompson dead at 50

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

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 or by calling (718) 260–8309. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Sid from Boerum hill says:
Deepest condolences to his family. A good man taken way too early.
Oct. 10, 2016, 7:58 am
Judy Walker from Freeport, Long Island says:
Although for only a fleeting moment, I am truly blessed to have crossed paths with such a brilliant, caring young man. This quote from Abraham Lincoln sums it all up from my talks with Kenneth Thompson "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother".
My heart goes out to his family and you are in my prayers.
Oct. 10, 2016, 3:03 pm
Wanda from Brooklyn says:
To the rude commenters above - he was a fine, Christian, black from the Bronx. He could so easily have become a crack dealer or rapist, like so many he grew up with - but he found JESUS!! This man loved the Lord. He could not make a decision without consulting his trusty BIBLE. But now that he'a dead you won't PRAY to the LORD JESUS?!?! You dishonor his memory! You are the devils!
Oct. 11, 2016, 2:49 am
Julia says:
Wearing blinders does help with focus.
Oct. 11, 2016, 12:30 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
Oct. 11, 2016, 12:35 pm
Diago from Clinton Hill says:
I know several of the wrongly convicted that Mr.Thompson has set free... if not for him they would have languished for who knows the length of time
Oct. 11, 2016, 8:43 pm
Dre from Brooklyn says:
I hope it was slowly and painfulf for Akia guerly death.
Oct. 27, 2016, 8:19 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: