Manhattan DA names first-ever executive assistant DA for gun violence prevention

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A gun imbued with stars was recovered on 84th Street and 1st Avenue on Jan. 4.
Photo by Dean Moses

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced Wednesday the appointment of the first-ever Executive Assistant DA for gun violence prevention.

Following the murders of Police Officers Jason Rivera and Willbert Mora during an armed ambush, Bragg has named Attorney Peter Pope as the leader of what the office calls a multi-faceted strategy to reduce gun violence. Bragg promises that Pope will focus on identifying and prosecuting both gun traffickers and anyone armed illegally. 

Pope has a longstanding career in both the private and public service with over 20 years of experience. His work at the Manhattan DA’s office focused on violent crimes and later as the Deputy Director of the Labor Racketeering Unit. He has earned many accolades and has served as 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.

This announcement also comes with Bragg citing gun violence as a top priority moving forward.  The office states that they will focus on identifying and prosecuting individuals who are driving violence, investigate and take down gun traffickers, and hold those accountable who carry guns on New York City’s streets. 

“Our first civil right is walking to the corner store safely and free of fear,” DA Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “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.”

In addition to focusing on tackling gun traffickers, Pope’s agenda will also undertake persons with a history of committing domestic violence with firearms while also partnering with those in the community engaged in ending gun crime.     

This tough-on-gun crime approach comes after Bragg was recently admonished by the Detectives’ Endowment Association’s President Paul DiGiacomo for releasing a memo opting not to pursue the prosecution of a certain criteria of crimes. Bragg’s memo stated that acts such as fare evasion, marijuana, and even prostitution will not be prosecuted going forward.