NEW YORK—A coordinated group of protesters interrupted a speech by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes on Oct. 8, as he was about to announce his official re-election bid as a Republican.
Hynes lost the Democratic race in the September primary election and was said to be considering a run on the Republican ticket for some time.
Hynes’s supporters crowded around the podium and on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall on the morning of Oct. 8. Close to a hundred people held signs and a local quartet played cheerful and jazzy folk music on the side of the stairs.
But before Hynes even said a word, a loud protest erupted.
About a dozen people began shouting “Hynes must go!” They held matching fluorescent green placards that read “Hynes Lies Again,” and other slogans. Hynes supporters eventually outshouted and pushed out the protesters.
Hynes began his speech by saying that the protesters are showing their opposition to the democratic process.
“This is not about party politics, this is not about labels, this is about people and public safety,” he said.
Hynes didn’t consider running after losing in the primary to Democrat Kenneth Thompson, but said events that ensued made him reconsider.
Hynes learned that Thomson won the nomination with 9 percent of the 18 percent of Democrats who voted, which Hynes called “palpably unfair.”
Then the news broke of Clarence Norman Jr., former Kings County Democratic Chair, helping Thompson run his campaign. Norman was convicted by Hynes for political corruption by extortion and served time.
Thompson denied that Norman had any connection to his campaign, but Norman himself later told media about his participation. Those two reasons alone were enough for Hynes to decide to rejoin the race.
“I will do everything in my power to make damn sure, that Clarence Norman Jr. never influences the office of the Brooklyn district attorney,” Hynes said.
Hynes said he was inundated with encouragement after he lost the primaries, and his supporters raised funds for his campaign.
Hynes compared his 24 years of experience as a district attorney in Brooklyn to Thompson’s 5 years of experience as a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn.
One of the protesters, Mathew Giuliano said his brother, John Guica, was sentenced to 25 years to life by Hynes 10 years ago. Giuliano believes his brother was wrongfully convicted of murder and accused Hynes of corruption.
“Because it was an election year and Charles Hynes was afraid of losing and one of the star witnesses’ mother was head of the Republican committee, [Hynes] told the son that if he testifies against my brother, he’ll get off scott-free,” Giuliano said.
Giuliano believes Thompson will review all the cases that are still under question, if he is elected to the post.
The polls for the general election open on Nov. 5.