Standing in Borough Park aside his choice for Brooklyn DA, Tuesday noon, Assemblyman Dov Hikind expressed his support for Ken Thompson, saying he’s “the best choice for the Orthodox Jewish community.” Speaking to reporters, Mr. Hikind described Mr. Thompson as a ‘mensch’ who’ll be a fair DA rather than just tough.
“Mr. Thompson hopes that Mr. Hikind’s endorsement will help him make inroads among Jewish voters despite Mr. Hynes’s deep ties to ultra-Orthodox leaders,” NY Times Vivian Yee wrote. “It was those ties that Mr. Hikind targeted on Tuesday, echoing other detractors of Mr. Hynes, who have argued for years that his close relationships with politically influential ultra-Orthodox rabbis have made him less likely to prosecute members of the ultra-Orthodox community accused of sexually abusing children. “There is no question that he will be fair and he will not play politics with that issue,” Mr. Hikind said of Mr. Thompson.”
However, in an interview with NY1’s Errol Louis on January 18, 2013, Mr. Thompson slammed Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes for putting the Orthodox Jewish community, in general, at a higher standard than other communities in prosecution cases.
“We need someone who’s going to stand up for all of Brooklyn. We can’t have different standards of justice based on where you live in Brooklyn,” Mr. Thompson said. “Every community in Brooklyn has to be treated the same. When I become Brooklyn DA, I’ll make sure there’s equal justice for everyone, under the law. ”
“Who is getting different treatment depending on where they live?” the host Errol Louis asked. “Well, you see the reports coming out in terms of how certain defendants in the Orthodox Jewish community are treated,” Mr. Thompson responded.
In April, Mr. Thompson came under fire by his opponents, one of them – Abe George who’s now backing his candidacy, blasting him for representing disgraced Democrats in the state Senate during one of Albany’s most scandal-scarred years.
“There’s nothing the public despises more than hypocrisy,” George Arzt, the campaign spokesman for Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, told the Daily News. “He talks in one side of his mouth about reforming the DA’s office, and in the other side of his mouth, he is trying to quash an investigation.”
While molestation cases have been widely discussed within the community, with many calling for tougher prosecution rules in term of justice, painting the Orthodox Jewish community as being at preference over other communities may be a tough sell for Mr. Thompson in the community, even though he’s now vowing to treat all communities equally.
Tuesday’s endorsement itself might also not bear the fruits Mr. Thompson is relying upon Mr. Hikind to deliver in terms of votes, or at least without alienating parts of his own base he’s depending on to beat Mr. Hynes. Mr. Hikind has run into trouble when he was photographed in February wearing blackface on Purim. Last month, when Mr. Thompson appeared on the Dov Hikind’s radio show, Mr. Hikind called him “articulate” — a word that African-Americans often see as offensive. “You’re an impressive guy,” Mr. Hikind said. “Starting from being articulate.” On Tuesday, he repeated the comment to a reporter, calling Mr. Thompson “very articulate and impressive.”
Asked at the time for a comment, Mr. Thompson told YWN he was not offended. “I’ve been called articulate many times in my life. Over it.”
Notwithstanding his past, Mr. Hikind, reportedly, failed to disclose income of his radio show, including candidates who’ve appeared on his show and been endorsed by him over the years, according to a investigative report by Chris Bragg on Crains NY.
We reached out to Mr. Hikind for a comment on Mr. Thompson’s line of attack, but his office declined to comment.
Reached for a comment, a spokesman for the Thompson campaign referred to the Jewish Week report of the rally organized by Mr. Hikind, calling the DA to drop all charges against Sam Kellner, as evidence that Mr. Hynes is the one hostile and unfair to the Orthodox Jewish community.
UPDATE: Ken Thompson’s campaign spokesperson sent YWN the following statement:
As a prosecutor and attorney in private practice, Ken has a proven track record of fighting for one standard of justice for every community, unlike DA Hynes who has overseen a dysfunctional office that has often pitted members of the Orthodox Jewish community against each other. Brooklyn needs new leadership that won’t just flail around and prosecute inconsistently depending on which way the political wind blows, we need a new DA who will protect every community.”
(Jacob Kornbluh – YWN)