QUEENS — Melinda Katz was sworn in as the new district attorney for Queens County on Monday evening in front of hundreds of residents and leaders from around the city and state.
The inauguration took place at the 54-year-old Democrat's law school alma mater, Saint John’s University.
The former state assemblywoman and Queens borough president promised to implement new bail laws, including eliminating bail for defendants except for those charged with violent crimes.
“If we don’t stand for our sisters and brothers and we don’t have their backs in the face of injustice, we are laying the groundwork for no one to have our backs when we find our own oppression,” said Katz.
Her stance on bail reform is gaining praise from her colleagues, including New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
“I am confident she will be an outstanding guardian of justice for all of the people of Queens because she is guided by a moral compass that pulls her closer to the arc of the universe,” said James.
Outside the ceremony, activists protested the inauguration, claiming Katz is violating her campaign promises to eliminate cash bail. But Katz reassured her constituents that her top priority is moving the criminal justice system in a new direction.
“Our system will go through changes and go through partnerships to achieve equity while figuring it out and we will figure it out. We will keep our communities safe,” said Katz.
Katz said she’s also dedicated to immigration and women’s rights, getting guns off the streets and cracking down on hate crimes against people of all races and religions.