By JON CRONIN
Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) is officially throwing his hat in the Queens DA race for next year’s September election.
Queens DA Richard Brown will be finishing his seventh term as district attorney, a position he has held since 1991, making him the longest-serving DA in the five boroughs.
In an interview with the Queens Tribune in early August, Lancman said in reference to Brown, “I’m not aware of him retiring early. I think it’s his intention that he will fill out his term, and I hope that he does. There’s not a scenario where I’m challenging him.”
Lancman is currently the chairman of the City Council’s Justice System committee—which oversees the city’s five district attorney offices—and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.
Early in the morning of Sept. 19, Lancman released a statement announcing his bid for the position: “Our criminal justice system discriminates against people of color, the poor, women, wage-earners, and immigrants, and Rory Lancman has the experience and will to radically transform the Queens District Attorney’s Office into a model of criminal justice reform.”
The announcement promised a rehaul of the district attorney’s office by a progressive Democrat, stopping the overpolicing of communities of color by “declining to prosecute low-level marijuana offenses, fare evasion, and many other victimless offenses; end cash bail, respect people’s right to a speedy trial, cease trials by ambush, and confront wrongful convictions that put too many innocent people behind bars.”
In a video included with the release, Lancman was endorsed by Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who was killed by a police officer implementing a chokehold restraint; and Valerie Bell, the mother of Sean Bell, who was killed during a shootout with police outside a strip club in Jamaica. Both believe that Lancman will hold police accountable for misconduct and unlawful behavior.