OpEd: Lu-Shawn Thompson, Wife of Late Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson On Why She’s Endorsing Ray McGuire for Mayor

OpEd: Lu-Shawn Thompson

My husband, the late Kenneth Thompson, was a tireless advocate for underserved communities as Brooklyn District Attorney, Assistant U.S. Attorney, and founding partner of his law firm. He spent his lifetime working to end gun violence, prosecute police brutality, and decriminalize low level drug cases. I am proud to endorse Ray McGuire for Mayor because I am confident that he will continue my husband’s legacy to uplift the lives of Black and Brown New Yorkers, who have now been especially hard hit by the pandemic, have seen the persistence of police violence, and live in fear of shootings and other crimes in their own neighborhoods.

My husband tackled police misconduct throughout his career and I know that Ray will stay true to his commitment to hold police officers accountable, to empower the CCRB, and to restore trust in the NYPD. He will strive to end the criminalization of poverty and homelessness by launching an innovative system of Emergency Social Services. This system will deploy trained social workers in mental health and substance abuse to appropriately assist individuals in crisis, so that they receive the long term help they need to recover. This will allow them to no longer be a danger to themselves or others, and will make sure vulnerable folks do not get entangled in the criminal justice system.

To tackle the surge in gun violence, Ray has voiced his plans to shift police resources to more effectively crack down on illegal weapons and invest in community-based crisis management programs. My husband was also committed to safe streets, but knew justice meant treating each case on its merits. Ray recognizes that for too long we have tried to fight crime by imprisoning and incarcerating communities of color, which has further destroyed lives. What actually works are initiatives to expand critical services like mental health counseling, quality primary care, food security, and rental assistance, which Ray has already called for. Ray’s plans for large scale workforce development programs will make it easier for thousands of struggling New Yorkers to develop key skills to find well-paying jobs. His support for MWBE businesses will allow them to gain a bigger share of government contracting opportunities, and will give them greater financial stimulus through wage subsidies, rent relief, low interest loans, and less red tape.

Ray delivers a new approach to public safety that focuses on the root causes of disorder in underserved communities by providing them the resources they need to survive and prosper, while also tactically addressing serious crimes.