EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn — Hundreds turned out Saturday to say a final farewell to Brooklyn’s first African American District Attorney, Ken Thompson.
Dozens of dignitaries, including U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, federal judge Sterling Johnson, and Mayor Bill de Blasio filled the seats of the Christian Cultural Center in East New York, where Thompson was remembered as a loving and devoted husband and father, as a man of deep conviction and a beacon for justice.
Thompson expanded an initiative that examines cases for potential wrongful convictions. In his 33 months in office, 21 people were freed from prison.
“Ken was born and bred to do what he did. He was the child of a police officer, a resident of public housing , and an African-American man who grew up in New York City. His passion for justice didn’t come from reading a book, but from living on the block,” said Gov. Cuomo.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke directly to Thompson’s mother, one of the first female police officers to join the NYPD.
“I have to tell you Mrs. Thompson, I didn’t meet you until Ken and I were working together, but I felt I knew you. He talked of you so often, and how iyou had inspired him in his life’s work,” Lynch said.
Lynch also read a message from President Obama.
Ken dedicated himself to the long and difficult pursuit of justice, and through his commitment to ensuring the words proclaimed in our founding documents were realized in the lives of people across the New York, he made a powerful difference,” the president wrote.
Thompson died last Sunday of colorectal cancer at the age of 50. His death sparked an outpouring of condolences from every corner of the city. During the funeral service, which lasted more than three hours, Thompson’s sister thanked mourners for their support.
“We appreciate the love, the prayers and support that you’ve given to this family during this time,” Thompson’s sister Cinda Adams-Gaskins said.
Thompson’s final resting place is at Woodlawn cemetery in the Bronx.