Anti-Violence Advocates Applaud Appointment of Veteran Prosecutor to Focus Resources and Expertise in an All-Out Effort to Reduce Gun Violence
Pope Will Lead Multi-Faceted Strategy Partnering with Community Anti-Violence Workers and Targeting Shooters, Gun Traffickers, Gun Carriers, and Domestic Abusers with Illegal Guns
Declaring combating gun violence his top priority, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg today announced the appointment of Peter Pope as the Manhattan District Attorney’s office first ever Executive Assistant District Attorney for Gun Violence Prevention. Mr. Pope is an accomplished attorney with expertise in gun violence prevention and a proven record of taking on tough challenges and getting results.
Pope will focus on identifying and prosecuting those who are driving the violence, investigating and prosecuting gun traffickers, prosecuting those who carry guns on our streets, redoubling the office’s efforts in identifying persons with a history of committing domestic violence who have guns, and working with community partners in intensified efforts to intervene before the violence occurs.
“Our first civil right is walking to the corner store safely and free of fear,” said DA Alvin Bragg. “We have lost too many loved ones to gun violence. People walking the streets with guns will be prosecuted and held accountable. We also will use gun possession cases as an opportunity to trace the sources of illegal guns and build cases against gun traffickers. We will restore safety to our communities by getting drivers of crime off our streets, cutting off the flow of illegal guns to our city, and partnering with community-based organizations focused on ending gun violence.”
“I am proud to announce Peter Pope as the first Executive Assistant District Attorney for Gun Violence Prevention. With extensive experience fighting to reduce gun violence, Peter brings extensive knowledge, courage, and vision that will greatly intensify our office’s ability to combat gun violence in Manhattan.”
“If there is one lesson that we have learned in our fight against gun violence and illegal guns, it is that we are most effective when we work in a comprehensive, multi-lateral manner,” said Richard Aborn, President of the Citizens Crime commission of NYC. “By appointing an Executive Assistant for Gun Violence Prevention, DA Bragg has wisely embraced the notion that we require a whole of society approach to illegal guns and gun violence; a combined criminal justice and public health approach. By empowering an individual at the Executive DA level to drive this strategy, DA Bragg is clearly and unequivocally stating that illegal guns and gun violence reduction are amongst his highest, if not highest, priority. I applaud DA Bragg for this important step. Our city will be all the more safer for it.”
“Like me, DA Bragg understands first-hand the terrible impact that gun violence has on our young people, particularly in communities like Harlem,” said Rev. Maurice Winely, Founder and Executive Director of the Living Redemption Youth Opportunity Hub. “He also recognizes the value of community-based strategies like credible messengers and intensive mentoring to help young people turn away from guns and avoid entanglement with the criminal justice system. I welcome DA Bragg’s leadership, and his appointment of an experienced and committed prosecutor, Peter Pope, to lead his anti-gun violence efforts in partnership with the community.”
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety said, “Everytown applauds DA Bragg’s all-hands-on-deck approach to combating gun violence, particularly his focus on gun trafficking. With the appointment of veteran prosecutor Peter Pope as his point person on gun violence, DA Bragg is taking an important step toward dismantling the Iron Pipeline that carries guns from states with weak laws into New York City neighborhoods. With this announcement, DA Bragg is leading the way toward a future where all New Yorkers can live free from the fear of gun violence.”
Iesha Sekou, Executive Director and Founder, Street Corner Resources added, “As the CEO & founder of Street Corner Resources, an organization that has fought for years to reduce gun violence, I’m excited that Alvin Bragg has announced an Executive ADA for Gun Violence Prevention. We are concerned about the influx of guns in our community that are now finding their way into the hands of our young people. We are excited that the DA has created a position to explicitly work on reducing gun trafficking and the flow of guns into our community.”
Peter Pope has had a long, accomplished career, including over two decades in public service. He started his career at the Manhattan DA’s Office, where he worked on violent crimes as an ADA and then as the Deputy of the Labor Racketeering Unit. Over his career, he has served as the Director of Policy for New York State, Chief of the Criminal Division in the NYS Attorney General’s Office, Inspector General for the NYC School Construction Authority, and Chief of the Investor Protection Bureau in the AG’s Office. While in private practice, Pope was the court-appointed monitor in a case brought by the City of New York under Mayor Bloomberg against gun store owners for illegally selling handguns in other parts of the country that were brought to New York via the Iron Pipeline and in the Attorney General’s office led a lawsuit charging nine gun manufacturers, three importers and twelve wholesalers with contributing to and maintaining a public nuisance through ongoing production and distribution practices.
The DA’s office will attack gun violence from every angle:
- First, we will identify and prosecute those who are driving the violence. Both the data and hard-learned human experience in our communities tell us that a small number of people are responsible for a devastating amount of the violence. We will find them and prosecute them.
- Second, we will investigate and prosecute gun traffickers. The guns used in crimes in our neighborhoods are bought out of state and then illegally trafficked onto our streets. Together with the NYPD and our federal law enforcement partners, we will find and prosecute the traffickers. Gun enforcement technology is getting better and better, and we will leverage it in every way we can.
- Third, we will prosecute those who carry guns on our streets. New York has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation, and we will continue to use them.
- Fourth, we will redouble our efforts in identifying those with a history of domestic violence who have guns. We are, tragically, all too aware of the danger of illegal guns that are present in homes where intimate partners and families are experiencing patterns of abuse and domestic violence.
- And fifth, we will work with community partners in intensified efforts to intervene before the violence occurs. When we are prosecuting crimes of violence, it is already too late for the victim. Every crime that we can prevent is a death or injury that does not happen and trauma that is not inflicted. We will use the experience of seasoned prosecutors to work with those in the community and other partners in government to try to intervene before violence occurs.