NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of mourners packed the Christian Cultural Center in East New York, Brooklyn on Saturday to pay their final respects to Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, who died Sunday after a battle with cancer.
Thompson’s wife, daughter and son were joined by numerous federal, state and local officials, including former colleague and mentor U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch who praised Thompson’s parents.
“I saw in him, in the man that you raised, everything that you and your husband gave him. And so we salute and honor you this morning,” Lynch said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was also in attendance. He said Thompson was born to be a prosecutor.
“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,” the governor said. “His passion for justice didn’t come from reading a book, but from living on the block.”
Speaker after speaker praised Thompson for not only making Brooklyn safer but also dedicating the DA’s office to exonerating wrongly-convicted criminals.
“In just 33 months, his office proved that 21 men and women, mostly black Hispanic and poor, were all falsely found guilty by our criminal justice system,” Cuomo said.
David McCallum was one of those wrongly convicted. He spent 29 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit before he was freed.
“He says ‘David, when you walk out of this building, I want you to keep your head held up high,'” McCallum said.
Thompson became the borough’s first African-American district attorney, after scoring an upset victory in 2013.
His successor Eric Gonzalez vowed to “carry through his legacy.”