In the rush to beat a city to the crime guns, why didn’t the police keep beating gun-runner Joseph Cates to death?
It’s not until a D.A. candidate is no longer tied to the lives and deaths that he has any chance at making a difference.
In one of the few instances in which an elected official was brought to justice for a crime committed in his district, Thomas J. Kenniff, D.A. candidate for Manhattan District Attorney, says his advice was ignored.
“The street deals with street deals,” the former assistant D.A. says, “and it’s these situations where we get beat to the same street by a gun gang.”
Along with many aspects of law enforcement – including broken windows principles of “respect the person, respect the property, respect the neighborhood” – perhaps it’s no coincidence that certain conspiracy theories have arisen about a crime that left Manhattan at a crossroads. As the crime involved a firearm, it allegedly played a role in the trial of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was recently acquitted of charges of attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment in a New York hotel.
During the trial, Kenniff was deeply implicated in decisions not to bring murder charges against Joseph Cates and his crew. It was Kenniff’s predecessor, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who dismissed the murder indictment against Cates, despite evidence to the contrary and by a third of his own jury. Kennedy, the vice chairman of the District Attorney’s Committee on Community Affairs and Crime, who was appointed by Morgenthau, was in charge of the case until he was fired for poor performance in 2009. Kenniff was appointed to oversee the case.