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Queens DA challenger receives endorsements from pair of Asian-American advocacy groups in Flushing

Jun. 16, 2023 By Bill Parry

Retired state Supreme Court Judge George Grasso was in Flushing on June 15 where he received endorsements in his campaign for Queens district attorney from two Asian-American political advocacy organizations just two days before the start of early voting for the June 27 Democratic primary election.

Grasso retired last August with two years remaining in his term to challenge Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz in her re-election bid.

“Our endorsements come after reviewing completed candidate questionnaires, publicly available news and records, participation in our candidates’ forums and member deliberation,” Asian Wave Alliance President Yiatin Chu said. “Judge George Grasso has a solid track record of fighting crime and we are confident that he will protect the Asian communities in Queens. We support candidates who are committed to making our communities safer, cleaner and more prosperous for us and our children.”

According to the 2020 Census, the Asian population in Queens grew 29% to nearly 706,000 of the borough’s 2.4 million residents and in Flushing, the Asian population is nearly 70% of the population.

“We recommend that everyone vote for Judge George Grasso, a former NYPD First Deputy Commissioner and Supreme Court judge with decades of experience in fighting crime and delivering justice. We believe Ms. Katz cannot break the shackles of the establishment and cannot do a good job in the current environment where crimes are condoned, major crimes are reduced to minor crimes, and petty crimes are eliminated,” New York City Residents Alliance President Donghui Zang said. “The current crime spike in Flushing is reminiscent of Shanghai 100 years ago. We urgently need elected officials with a strong sense of justice to fight all crimes and protect the safety of everyone, especially children, the elderly, and women. Judge George Grasso, who has a detailed system plan and rich experience, is running for Queens District Attorney to restore law and order in New York City, starting from Queens and Flushing.”

Grasso, a longtime resident of Douglaston, engaged the downtown Flushing business community early and often during his campaign.

“I am thrilled that New York City Residents Alliance and Asian Wave Alliance are on the Grasso for Queens team. Running for office in a borough as diverse as Queens and receiving the endorsements of such established and respected groups means so much to me and is a reflection of my abilities as a crime fighter,” Grasso said. “The Asian-American community in Queens is hurting. Their small businesses are being burglarized, they are being victimized in hate crime attacks, and the quality of life in their neighborhoods is deteriorating. Communities like Flushing, which function not only as centers of commerce, but also as cultural hubs in our borough, need an experienced criminal justice professional, not another politician. I look forward to continuing to fight for the Asian-American community as their Queens district attorney.”

Just days earlier, Katz secured the endorsement of the Captain Endowment Association of the NYPD (CEA NYPD). The law enforcement union joins the Lieutenants Benevolent Association (LBA) in backing her re-election campaign.

“As district attorney, Melinda Katz has always prioritized the safety of Queens families. She has also dedicated resources to improving community relations with law enforcement, which is key to driving down crime in our neighborhood,” CEA NYPD President Chris Monahan said. “Her balanced approach to prosecution has resulted in deadly weapons taken off the streets, hundreds of violent gang members arrested, and numerous domestic abusers and human traffickers held accountable. At the same time, she has partnered with NYPD officials on important initiatives to prevent crime and connect with the young people of this borough. We are proud to unanimously endorse her for re-election as Queens district attorney.”

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz with NYPD Deputy Chief Jerry O’Sullivan after announcing the takedown of a major gun and drug trafficking ring that was operating at Rufus King Park in southeast Queens.Photo by Anthony Medina

Katz secured the law enforcement endorsements before her June 13 press conference announcing the arrest of eight men who were operating a major gun and drug trafficking ring in and around Rufus King Park in southeast Queens.

Following a long-term wiretap investigation Katz authorized, the NYPD seized more than 3 pounds of cocaine, more than a pound of fentanyl, more than 1.5 pounds of hallucinogenic mushrooms, thousands of pills — including oxycodone and ecstasy — four handguns and $67,000 in cash. Undercover detectives also purchased five handguns from at least one of the defendants.

“The NYPD Lieutenants Benevolent Association was proud to endorse Melinda Katz when she successfully ran for Queens District Attorney in 2019,” LBA President Lou Turco said. “District Attorney Katz has proven herself to be receptive to the concerns of law enforcement and an advocate of law and order in Queens County. The NYPD Lieutenants Benevolent Association is proud to endorse Melinda Katz for re-election as the District Attorney of Queens County.”

Katz said she was proud to pick up the endorsements from the two law enforcement unions.

“The Office of the District Attorney relies on strong partnerships with our law enforcement partners and city workers to help keep Queens County safe, growing and thriving,” Katz said. “I have been proud to strengthen these partnerships over the last three years in our shared mission to make this borough the best place to live, work, and raise a family. Together, we will continue to ensure that our workers and the unions that represent them are heard and protected. I thank each of them for their support.”

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