On World Suicide Prevention Day, Legal Aid Calls on Queens DA Richard Brown to Condemn Recent Comments Made by Assistant DA James Quinn About Kalief Browder


Tina Luongo, Attorney-In-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society, released the following statement today on World Suicide Prevention Day demanding that Queens District Attorney Richard Brown publicly condemn disparaging comments made by his Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney James C. Quinn about Kalief Browder at a debate last week with Council Member Rory Lancman.

In 2015, Kalief Browder died by suicide after spending three years on Rikers Island – much of that time in solitary confinement - awaiting trial for an alleged theft of a backpack. Mr. Browder’s case was ultimately dismissed.

“It shocks the conscience that Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has remained silent since last week’s debate where his deputy attempted to downplay the devastating effects that Rikers Island had on Kalief Browder. Further, it reflects a mindset of indifference towards those in our city’s jails – many of whom are detained because of unaffordable bail amounts and excessive charges levied by prosecutors – New Yorkers who are brutalized by staff, and subjected to the torture of solitary confinement, and who are struggling with depression and other mental illness.

To say that we should simply keep things the same is wrong-headed; this is not the direction this city should be moving in. James Quinn's views are outdated. He is a leader in that office, modeling behavior for other prosecutors; and he needs to be held accountable. The real question is: what is D.A. Brown going to do about it?"