Former federal prosecutor Kenneth Thompson has defeated longtime Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes to become the borough's first black DA.
Hynes, the Brooklyn DA for 23 years, conceded defeat in front of supporters in Bay Ridge. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Thompson had 75 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. Hynes, who initially lost to Thompson in September's Democratic primary, had just 25 percent/
Thompson, a former federal prosecutor who tried the New York City police officers accused of attacking Abner Louima in 1999, will be Brooklyn's first black district attorney. He is taking over one of the largest district attorney's offices in the country, with more than 80,000 cases a year.
As a private attorney, he was best known for representing the hotel maid at the center of a sex assault scandal involving former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Thompson has said he wants to change the culture of the office and bring in new technology. He hopes to tackle gun violence, create a cybercrime unit to combat rising identity theft, and retrain lawyers on evidence rules after a series of wrongful convictions were exposed.
He also said he would not prosecute drug possession cases involving less than 15 grams of marijuana because he believes the resources would be better spent on more serious crimes. He'd offer noncriminal fines instead, he said.
"I want the assistant district attorneys who work for me to know that the fundamental duty of the prosecutor is to do justice and not just to convict someone," he told The Associated Press in an interview after the primary.
Thompson's primary win in September marked the first time in a century that a sitting Brooklyn district attorney was ousted. But after losing the Democratic primary, Hynes switched to the Republican party to stay on the ballot and potentially in office.
The race had heated up with a stream of attacks and harsh ads since Hynes flipped sides.
Both sides kicked up the attack ads. Thompson accused Hynes of turning his back on the people of Brooklyn and Hynes said Thompson lacks the leadership ability to shepherd the office. Both sides have linked the other to convicted public figures; Thompson with former Assemblyman Clarence Norman and Hynes with disgraced former New York state judge Sol Wachtler.
Thompson has repeatedly said Norman is not involved in his campaign. Hynes said he is friendly with Wachtler but he is not active in the campaign.
Most of the major endorsements, from powerful Jewish rabbis to Sen. Charles Schumer and The New York Times, went to Thompson. The borough is overwhelmingly Democratic. Of more than 1.3 million registered voters, about 985,000 are Democrats, 124,000 are Republicans and 5,000 are Conservatives, according to the city's Board of Elections.