NAACP Legal Defense Fund President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill issued the following statement regarding the death of Ken Thompson, District Attorney for Brooklyn:

“We are saddened by the untimely death of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, who passed away just a week after announcing that he would take a leave of absence to focus on his health. Mr. Thompson was the first African-American District Attorney elected in Brooklyn, and was regarded as a member of a small national group of reform-minded prosecutors. From his innovative Begin Again warrant amnesty program, which is now a model for prosecutors’ offices around the country, to his successful and controversial prosecution of Officer Peter Liang for the shooting death of Akai Gurley, DA Thompson demonstrated his deep commitment to seeking justice above all. Thompson launched a bold and unflinching review of murder convictions in the Brooklyn DA’s office that resulted in a score of convictions that were overturned or dismissed. Although there were occasions when we disagreed with decisions made by DA Thompson, we never wavered in our respect for his integrity and professionalism. This is a great loss for the residents of Brooklyn and New York City.” 

“My thoughts and those of the board and staff of LDF go out to the colleagues who served alongside DA Thompson, and to his friends and family.”


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.