1. Fortify the Conviction Review Unit
Like the late District Attorney Ken Thompson, Vincent knows that the worst rap against a District Attorney’s office is to wrongfully convict innocent people and send them to prison. Because Vincent got his District Attorney training in Queens, he like Ken Thompson can attack the problem of the wrongfully convicted in Brooklyn without fear or favor, having no ties to the Brooklyn DA’s office of the past
Introduced in 2015, the Conviction Review Unit combed through hundreds of criminal cases ultimately identifying and reversing the convictions of 21 innocent individuals. The Conviction Review Unit was one of Ken Thompson’s signature achievements that has helped our community undo the injustices of the past. As a former Assistant District Attorney, Vincent believes that a false conviction is an egregious error that destroys the lives of those affected
As District Attorney, Vincent would continue Ken Thompson’s legacy by:
- Continuing and expanding the necessary case review and resources for the Conviction Review Unit
- Employing internal policies to mitigate a “prosecute-first at all costs” mentality.
- Uncover wrongful convictions without fear or favor
2. Enhance the Begin Again Program
In Brooklyn, there are over 250,000 open warrants, accumulating at an increasing rate every year. In response Ken Thompson created the Begin Again program that helps more than a quarter-million Brooklyn residents erase outstanding warrants or minor offenses. With Begin Again in place, residents with outstanding warrants have the ability to surrender to a Begin Again center, and take the opportunity to resolve a majority of open warrants. Ken Thompson rightly argued that this program would allow police officers to pursue more serious crime and limit Brooklyn’s rate of incarceration. And at a time when the mayor, elected officials, community activists, faith-based leaders, and residents are working to improve police-community relations, this program helps establish trust with communities across Brooklyn
As District Attorney Vincent would continue Ken Thompson’s legacy by:
- Building out a robust calendar for Begin Again events.
- Working with community leaders to take ownership of the program, and help drive its success.
3. Tough on Guns and stronger prosecution of gun traffickers
Ken Thompson spent a vast amount of the DA’s resources to target gun rings in Brooklyn and gun traffickers that bring out of state firearms to Brooklyn. Thompson spoke publicly about the need to pursue arms dealers, but also of the need for state and federal laws that criminalize gun traffickers. As a legislator he has been a supporter and has lobbied with groups like NYers Against Gun Violence. As District Attorney he will use that platform to push for the federal ban on automatic weapons. Pursuing arms dealers is only part of the problem; there is also a need for state and federal laws that criminalize gun traffickers As District Attorney, Vincent Gentile will give as much time, attention and resources to fighting gun trafficking as he will to major illegal narcotics busts.