NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Friends, family and a host of officials past and present gathered Tuesday in Forest Hills to say a final farewell to longtime Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Brown, 86, died Friday night. He served as Queens’ prosecutor for 27 years.
He was eulogized today as a man who “made a profound difference” at a funeral attended by three mayors, two police commissioners and dozens of judges, reports CBS2’s Marcia Kramer.
An honor guard of police officers brought the casket of the late Queens district into a local synagogue.
The standing-room-only funeral was attended by Mayor Bill de Blasio, former mayors Michael Bloomberg and David Dinkins, Police Commissioner James O’Neill and former commissioner William Bratton.
When Brown took office as Queens district attorney in 1991, crime was at record highs. Through his seven terms, he earned a reputation for being the first in the office, last to leave, and worked weekends. He regularly visited crime scenes yet managed to maintain a sense of humor – even at his own expense, mocking his own short stature.
“One of his favorite lines was, ‘When I started as district attorney, I was 6-feet-2 – this job can weigh you down,'” said Robert Tucker, a former assistant Queens district attorney and a family friend.
Brown was re-elected to six terms in office until his announcement of not seeking re-election this year.
Web Extra: Funeral For Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Part 1
Web Extra: Funeral For Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Part 2
The Queens DA will be remembered in part for the major cases he prosecuted.
In 1996, he won a conviction against the “Zodiac” killer, who murdered three people. And in 2001, he successfully prosecuted the two men who carried out the Wendy’s massacre in Flushing, where five people died.
“This was as horrendous a crime as one could possibly imagine,” Brown said at the time.
Before becoming district attorney, Brown served as a judge, and even presided over the arraignment for the notorious “Son of Sam” killer in 1977.
There were other cases as well.
In 2001, he successfully prosecuted two men who carried out the Wendy’s masacre in Fluhsing where five people died, but his office was not always successful. Several police officers were acquitted in the high profile shooting of Sean Bell, an unarmed black man killed after a bachelor party at a Queens club.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo mourned Brown as “a giant of the legal community and dedicated public servant.”
“Richard Brown was committed to making this city safer and brought hundreds of men and women into law enforcement,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Our prayers are with Judge Brown’s family and loved ones.”