Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson has died. The federal prosecutor recently announced he would leave his post to undergo treatment for cancer. But he succumbed to the disease Sunday at age 50.
A source told the New York Daily News Thompson received a colorectal cancer diagnosis in the spring. The DA announced Oct. 4 he would briefly abandon his position to try and beat the disease. He did not reveal what kind of cancer he had.
“As a man of intense faith, I intend to fight and win the battle against this disease,” Thompson said in a public statement. “I humbly seek your sincere prayers as I confront this challenge and respectfully ask that you honor my family’s need and wish for privacy during this time.”
Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez was due to take over in the main DA role while Thompson got treated.
But on Oct. 9, Thompson passed away at New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center surrounded by family.
“He was a giant among those seeking to reform the criminal justice system and we are all privileged to have worked under his transformative leadership these past three years,” Gonzalez told the Associated Press.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said flags will be flown at half-mast to honor Thompson.
“Ken was a dedicated public servant who embodied the highest principles of the law, and his grand presence will be sorely missed,” Cuomo stated.
Thompson held a lengthy career in law. As a federal prosecutor, he contested the 1997 case of ex-NYC officer Justin Volpe. The cop was accused of sodomizing Abner Louima in a police department restroom.
In 2014, Thompson became the first African-American district attorney in Brooklyn after succeeding Charles Hynes. Thompson served as the prosecutor in the trial against Peter Liang. The New York policeman shot and killed Akai Gurley in the stairwell of a housing project.
Thompson left behind his wife, Lu-Shawn Thompson, and two children along with his brother, sister and parents.