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.
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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 Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:55 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

SCR from Realityville says:
Perhaps,if any of these candidates are elected Brooklyn,NY District Attorney,we should ALL STOP paying our Bus&Subways? Especially so,if we are NOT a bit wealthy,and massive delays on the subway or no show of busses,or worsen? It even reminds me of line from a sing from the 1968 film"OLIVER" "Why should we break our backs-stupid we paying TAX" ? Only in Brooklyn,NY,in 2018;it will be paying"FARE"?
Sept. 8, 2017, 7:38 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Turnstile jumping should still be something like a citation though. It shouldn't be just nothing. Weed smoking should only be an issue if someone is smoking in a no smoking area just like tobacco products. Prostitution can sometimes be a part of human trafficking though, and if these people are victims, then you might just be sending them straight back into where they are being victimized. I hope they don't mean they're just going to turn a blind eye.
Sept. 8, 2017, 9:13 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
They're going about this the wrong way. If they disagree with the laws, they should join the legislature and have them changed. It's not the role of the DA to make the laws, and by selectively enforcing, they are attempting to take on a power that isn't part of the role they are going for.
As a civil servant, you aren't meant to let your personal views overshadow your duties. What they are promising is the same as registry clerk saying they will not process gay marriage certificates because it goes against their personal viewpoints. We are governed by laws that should apply to all equally. The opinions of your local DA do not change the laws. If they do so, they open the door to any future DA having a level of power to decide over people's lives without limit. How they feel becomes the law. This is against all the principles of government and fair society.
Sept. 11, 2017, 4:58 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Article dated Sept 11... comments dated Sept 8. Time machine or some mandated DNC re-writes?
Sept. 11, 2017, 8:26 am
Vince DiMiceli (Brooklyn Paper) from Editor says:
@Jim: Story ran late on Friday, was reposted this morning. We sometimes do that with stories that go up late on Friday.
Sept. 11, 2017, 9:51 am
Criminal says:
I will vote for him!

He he he!!
Sept. 11, 2017, 11:37 am
S from Clinton Hill says:
@Michael: The DA is not a "prosecutor bot" who pursues all crimes with no regard for anything but the letter of the law.

It would be both impossible and undesirable for law enforcement to put an equal amount of resources into each crime. Imagine if the NYPD felt they had to investigate jaywalking exactly as vigorously as they would search for a serial killer!

The DA is meant to have discretion over when to prosecute, when to let it drop, or when to perhaps strike a balance by bringing a less serious charge, taking into account a broader understanding of how to serve justice and the community. (And if the voters don't like it, they have the tools to respond.)

Yes, this gives the DA (and other people in law enforcement) considerable power over people's lives. But the alternative is a dystopia where people's lives are ruled mercilessly by words on a page.
Sept. 11, 2017, 12:08 pm
Lillian from Boerum Hill says:
Let's all start peeing in the street. These guys all think that's great.
Sept. 11, 2017, 12:45 pm
Raul from Fort Greene says:
I have an idea: Let's get rid of the law. It unfairly impacts those who break it. Then we can get rid of these silly lawyers. They would have to do something else like teach nursery school or aromatherapy.
Sept. 11, 2017, 12:51 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
Lillian from BH: public urination isn't a crime in NYC. It's only a civil summons. However, while peeing in public, you can be arrested and charged with indecent exposure.
Sept. 11, 2017, 1 pm
Lillian from Boerum Hill says:
A cop isn't going to arrest someone for indecent exposure because there is no such thing anymore. We have progressives at the helm. The only crime is not thinking like them. The only criminals are the NYPD. They have to be brought to heel, to paraphrase Hillary Clinton.
Sept. 11, 2017, 1:13 pm
Andrew Porter from Brooklyn Heights says:
Do not go Gentile into that good night, to make a horrible pun...
Sept. 11, 2017, 1:47 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Good to see I have so many dim neighbors who cling to hyperbole, ignorance and imaginary "outrage" when topics like this come up.

Oh the suffering and injustice the right-wingers commenting here must have to deal with every day. Oh the humanity!

It's almost like you are totally incapable of seeing an issue from any perspective other than your own little, narrow one. Nuance and experiences that may be different from your own are not your strong suits, eh?
Sept. 11, 2017, 1:58 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
Some people might say that one way to help oneself become less poor is to learn to follow the law and not have excuses made for you.
Sept. 11, 2017, 2 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Some people might say Bay Ridge is full of sanctimonious and unjustifiably self-righteous douche nozzles...
Sept. 11, 2017, 5:50 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
SMASH Ideological-Purity!! Ideological-Purity is equally a mere form of humankind social immaturity,to the point of mental-retardation-regardless of whether it sprewed-out,by the Right-wing or the Left-wing!! Or perhaps,more to-the-point,we should collectively STOP tolerating political fanatism;as we STOPPED tolerating religious fanatism-many decades ago? That's,of course,with the exception of those humankinds,who are religious fanatics.
Sept. 11, 2017, 7:20 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
...who don't jump the turnstiles. Did I mention learning to budget?
Sept. 11, 2017, 7:23 pm
Gary from Fort Greene says:
Tyler: and content free posts obviously are your strong suit. Or at least the strongest among your very weak suits.
Sept. 11, 2017, 8:56 pm
James from Georgetown says:
Constipation of misinformation.
Sept. 11, 2017, 9:56 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
@S - The prosecutor is supposed to make decisions based on the merits of individual cases, not based on general opinions of the law itself. They should use discretion, but it should be based on upholding the spirit of the law, not to undermine the law itself. I'm sure that plenty of cases of people violating these laws have extenuating circumstances, and will not be pursued. To publically make the sweeping statement that you will completely ignore these particular laws, without any regard for the particulars of a specific case is what I have an issue with.
There's also a knock-on effect to the police, who may not pursue these crimes as a result. These investigations can often lead to more serious problems (investigating prostitutes often leads to human trafficking operations or exploitive criminals who force women into prostitution). There is a value in looking into them. There is a reason the laws are on the books. And even if he disagrees, it is not withing his scope to effectively remove these laws from the books.
Sept. 12, 2017, 5:01 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Soft racism of low expectations.
Sept. 12, 2017, 7:44 am
Sparkle from Bay Ridge says:
I want a district attorney that will stop enforcing laws against littering, aggressive begging, and especially against loud noises. I am tired of being arrested for shouting at people, for screaming in the streets late at night, and for interrupting public meetings.
Sept. 12, 2017, 10:12 am
Dan from Bay Ridge says:
Tyler, you point out that people posting here are "narrow" and lacking in "nuance." You're right: No one else shows your gift for nuance. No one else has called anyone a "douche nozzle."
Sept. 12, 2017, 7:13 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Never should have been busting people for such things in the first place.... but, quotas.
Sept. 13, 2017, 12:06 am
Wanda from Brooklyn Heights says:
He wants to ignore the laws of the United States of America, and then implement Sharia law (like in his home country).
Sept. 13, 2017, 4:09 pm

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