Your 2017 Brooklyn District Attorney election guide

Brooklyn’s next District Attorney will be chosen from a pool of six Democrats in the Sept. 12 primaries, because no Republicans are running for the seat in the deep-blue county. Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez — who was appointed to the office less than a year ago by his now-deceased predecessor, Ken Thompson — has racked up the most endorsements in the competition, but some say the race is still up in the air. Get to know the men and women vying to oversee Kings County’s criminal justice system with our guide before casting your vote.

Ama Dwimoh

• Unmarried with no children and lives in Prospect Heights.

• Serves as the special counsel to Borough President Adams.

• An assistant district attorney for more than two decades, Dwimoh founded and was the chief of the Crimes Against Children Bureau in the DA’s office before joining Adams’s staff.

Marc Fliedner

• Married with a daughter and son, and lives with his father in Bay Ridge.

• If elected, he would be Brooklyn’s first openly gay District Attorney.

• Runs his own civil rights and criminal defense practice, which he started after serving as the chief of Civil Rights in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.

Pat Gatling

• Moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan — where she lived for nearly two decades and her husband still resides — less than a year ago, according to an Observer report.

• Is an attorney at Windels Marx Lane and Mittendorf.

• Began her career as an assistant district attorney under former Kings County top prosecutor Elizabeth Holtzman.

• In 2002, Mayor Bloomberg named her the head of the city’s Human Rights Commission, a post she was booted from in 2014 after accusations of being an alleged do-nothing.

• Appointed by Gov. Cuomo to serve as the deputy secretary for civil rights for New York state in 2015.

Vincent Gentile

• Unmarried with no children and lives in Bay Ridge, where he’s served as councilman for the last 14 years — a seat he must give up due to term limits.

• Was a prosecutor for 11 years in the Special Victim’s Bureau of the Queens District Attorney’s office prior to joining the Council.

• Currently involved in a lawsuit brought by a former staffer, who has Asperger’s syndrome and accused Gentile of harassment.

Eric Gonzalez

• Brooklyn’s acting district attorney since October 2016, when the late Thompson named Gonzalez his successor before dying from cancer.

• Lives in Williamsburg with his wife and three sons.

• A native Brooklynite, he grew up in East New York and Williamsburg, and is Kings County’s first Latino top prosecutor.

• Joined the District Attorney’s office in 2011 and served as the borough’s trial bureau chief in Flatbush, Sunset Park, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, and Coney Island before being named chief assistant in the fall of 2014.

Anne Swern

• Born in Flatbush, Swern is married with a son and daughter and lives in Brooklyn Heights, where she serves as a district leader.

• A member of the Independent Neighborhood Democrats.

• Most recently worked for Brooklyn Defenders Services, but resigned to campaign in December 2016.

• Has worked with four different Brooklyn district attorneys.

• In 2012, was implicated in a Department of Investigation probe for working on then-District Attorney Charles Hynes’s failed reelection campaign on taxpayers’ time.


Reforming the criminal justice system has taken center stage in the race, as competitors vie to position themselves as the most progressive prosecutor. The candidates have stressed the importance of overturning wrongful convictions, making low-level first offenses such as possession of marijuana civil and not criminal, and moving away from a cash-bail system. Acting District Attorney Gonzalez, the incumbent who many see as a front-runner, has also come under fire throughout the campaign for not living up to the legacy of Thompson, his predecessor.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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