Mourners filled the Reform Temple of Forest Hills to capacity on Tuesday as they paid homage to the late Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, who died Saturday after a long battle with Parkinson’s at 86 years old.
Mayor Bill de Blasio recognized the lifelong public servant who played a role in making New York one of the safest big cities in the United States, and others simply looked back at the dedication he showed to his job as the county’s top prosecutor.
“We celebrate that there’s more justice and fairness, he was one of the authors of that justice and fairness,” de Blasio said. “He was ahead of his time in so many of the areas that he focused on, pulling not only the Queens DA’s Office but so many in the criminal justice system to focus more on domestic violence, to focus more on hate crimes, to stand up more for victims’ rights … His legacy lives on because Queens is a safer place.”
Brown served for 28 years in the office where he came to be revered by many, including acting District Attorney Jack Ryan who has served in the DA’s office for much of that time.
“He was very proud of his family, but he had another family and that was us: the Queens DA family,” Ryan said. “To appreciate where we are today as a city and an office, we have to remember where we were when he became DA … He made us better and together we helped make the city, the safest major city in North America. Something that didn’t happen by accident and cannot be taken for granted.”
Ryan also claimed that under Brown, defendants were arraigned faster than any other DA prior which he did in an effort to send people home rather than let them sit in detention.
Brown announced earlier in 2019 that he would step down from office, leaving Ryan in charge, after declining health. He already had several challengers for the office including retired Judge Gregory Lasak, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Rory Lancman, prosecutors Mina Malik, Jose Nieves and Betty Lugo as well as for public defender Tiffany Caban.
The Democratic primary is set for June 25.
Former Mayors David Dinkins, 91, and Michael Bloomberg also attended the services.