BROOKLYN DISTRICT ATTORNEY ERIC GONZALEZ AND COMPTROLLER SCOTT STRINGER SAY WASHINGTON’S TOUGH ON CRIME POLICIES ARE A STEP BACKWARD
Stringer Endorses Gonzalez for District Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, June 1, 2017 – (Brooklyn, NY) – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer today endorsed Eric Gonzalez for Brooklyn District Attorney.
“Eric is someone of not just extraordinary intelligence and incredible competence,” said Stringer. “His character is of the highest caliber. He’s guided by an unflappable sense of right and wrong. I’m proud to endorse him – he will continue to be an outstanding district attorney for Brooklyn for years to come.”
“I'm grateful for Comptroller Stringer's support and the great work he does on behalf of the people of New York every day," said Gonzalez. “It is important that the hardworking men and women of Brooklyn feel confident that their taxpayer dollars are being used thoughtfully to support their communities. Scott understands that and he knows that we must continue to move Brooklyn in the right direction.”
Gonzalez and Stringer took the opportunity to push back against the draconian tough on crime policies of the 1980’s that have recently resurfaced under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. A recent memo by Sessions to all federal prosecutors requires them to seek the highest possible charges in every case, carrying the highest sentences. These incidences frequently trigger mandatory minimums. This approach, which led to record numbers of people imprisoned for non-violent offenses, has been widely discredited and runs counter to smart on crime policies that have driven down crime in Brooklyn to the lowest levels in history.
“Our experience in Brooklyn shows why Attorney General Sessions’ announcement is so misguided," said Gonzalez. "While keeping the people of Brooklyn safe is my top priority, I also know that we are never going to incarcerate ourselves to safety and we are never going to change our communities by only putting people in prison. Public safety does not require us to adhere to an outdated and ineffective 'tough on crime' approach. Instead, we need to be smart on crime, which is what we have done in the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.”
“The very criminal justice policies this administration is now embracing are the same ones that failed a generation of Americans, and the same ones that created an unrelenting cycle of crime and poverty in communities across the United States,” said Stringer. “If we want to lower crime and reduce recidivism, that cycle needs to be broken permanently. What the White House is trying to do is completely backwards — and it’s immoral.”
In 2014, then-Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson made New York history by announcing that the Brooklyn DA’s office would no longer prosecute cases involving the possession of small amounts of marijuana. This policy, which Gonzalez wrote and implemented, was a commonsense step forward for law enforcement in Brooklyn by freeing up police officers and prosecutors to focus on serious threats to public safety.
In Brooklyn, studies showed that black people were nine times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people despite the fact that there is virtually no racial disparity in marijuana use. The human toll of these policies cannot be understated, as a criminal conviction serves as a lifelong impediment when it comes to education, housing and employment.
Gonzalez believes that drug use should be treated primarily as a health issue. Trying to solve the drug problem by imposing ever-harsher penalties in drug cases was a misguided strategy in the 1980’s that, instead of reducing the number of people addicted to harsh drugs, the country saw decades of growing prison populations, rising costs, and high recidivism rates among people who were incarcerated for drug use.
Rather than forcing people into the criminal justice system, Gonzalez offers Brooklynites the option of treatment and rehabilitation.
Eric Gonzalez is a lifelong resident of Brooklyn. He was raised by a single mother for most of his youth, living first in Williamsburg. During the 1980’s, his family moved to East New York during the height of the city’s crack epidemic. Gonzalez is a graduate of John Dewey High School in Coney Island, Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School where he was president of the Latino Law Student Association. He is married to his wife, Dagmar, and they have three sons.
Gonzalez has received the endorsement of Public Advocate Letitia James, the Working Families Party, the Vanguard Independent Democratic Association, 32BJ Service Employees International Union, the United Federation of Teachers, the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union, the Transport Workers Union, and more.