Longtime Queens district attorney laid to rest
by Shane Miller
May 04, 2019 | 18323 views | 0 0 comments | 628 628 recommendations | email to a friend | print
District Attorney Richard Brown
District Attorney Richard Brown

Queens said goodbye to its longtime district attorney this week.

Queen District Richard Brown passed way last Friday evening. He was 86.

Brown died at a health facility in Connecticut surrounded by family after being injured in a fall at his home two days ago. He stepped down from his post in March as he battled Parkinson’s disease.

“Judge Brown loved working for the people of Queens,” said chief assistant district attorney John Ryan, who has been serving as acting district attorney. “He would often be the first person in the office and very likely the last to leave every day. He was known to visit crime scenes, meet with victims and work tirelessly to give them justice.”

On Tuesday morning, a procession followed his casket from the Queens County Courthouse down Queens Boulevard to The Reform Temple of Forest Hills, where a memorial service was held.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and former mayors Michael Bloomberg and David Dinkins were among the hundreds who attended. De Blasio credited him as being instrumental in turning the city around.

“Richard Brown made a difference, a profound difference,” he said at the service “When we celebrate our progress as a city, he is one of the architects of that progress. When we think how much we have changed for the better, he was one of those change-makers.”

Prior to the procession, Jim Dever shared his thoughts on his former boss.

“He was a great man,” said the director of the Investigative Accounting and Economic Crimes Unit. “He took care of his employees and he believed in law and order.”

“We’ll not see the likes of him again,” added senior executive assistant district attorney Jim Quinn.

Brown was first appointed to the post in 1991 by Governor Mario Cuomo, and announced in January that he would not seek re-election this year. At the time of his resignation, he was the longest serving district attorney in the city.

Under Brown’s watch, the Queens District Attorney’s Office created a Domestic Violence Bureau, the Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Animal Cruelty Unit and the Queens Treatment Intervention Program (Q-TIP) to address the opioid crisis.

High profile cases prosecuted during his time in office included the 1996 conviction of the “Zodiac” killer, who murdered three people, and the conviction of two men who carried out the massacre of five people in a Wendy’s restaurant in Flushing.

He is survived by his wife Rhoda, their three children Karen, Todd and his wife Monica, and Lynn and her husband Bruce, as well as two granddaughters, Leah, who is entering her last year at West Point, and Alana, who will start her first year at West Point in September.

The family requested that those wishing to honor Brown’s memory should make a donation to the West Point Jewish Chapel Fund.

"Judge Brown was a public servant like no other,” added Ryan. “Brown contributed greatly to making this city the safest big city in the nation.”

Borough President Melinda Katz, who is a candidate to replace Brown, said the borough lost a lifelong public servant.

“We reflect on and honor Judge Brown’s extraordinary devotion and distinguished service to the people of Queens,” she said. “I will forever and fondly remember his kindness to me and my family throughout the years.

Salvatore Isola provided additional reporting for this article.

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