After months of dropping hints, Assemblyman Dan Quart (D-Murray Hill, Lenox Hill) has officially thrown his hat in the ring for the Manhattan District Attorney race.
Quart, who first took office in 2011, has built the majority of his platform around criminal justice reform. In the Assembly, he fought to end cash bail, fairly compensate exonerees, and protect working class people from prosecution for carrying gravity knives. Quart’s ultimate goal is a future where we don’t criminalize poverty.
“We need a DA in Manhattan who will apply the law fairly, charge with restraint, and look out for New Yorkers – all New Yorkers, not just the wealthy and well-connected,” said Quart.
For this reason, Quart has taken major umbrage with incumbent Manhattan DA Cy Vance. Quart is one of Vance’s harshest critics, claiming that Vance has used the office to disenfranchise low-income people of color. He often points to Vance’s gang database – a private listing of suspected gang members in New York – as an example of such, calling it unconstitutional racial profiling.
“Manhattan should be more than a playground for the rich,” said Quart. “Those with money and power have been afforded a different kind of justice than the rest of us. That’s not the Manhattan I grew up in, and that’s not the Manhattan I’ll lead as District Attorney.”
If elected, Quart pledges to end cash bail, the criminalization of substance abuse, and the prosecution of crimes of poverty. He also promises to do away with the “gang database” and other invasive, surveillance-based methods of gang prosecution. Furthermore, he intends to revamp the Sex Crimes Unit, replacing the punitive model with a survivor-centered, restorative justice model.
“As a lawyer, I’ve defended my clients against policies that criminalize race and poverty,” said Quart. “As a legislator, I’ve worked to change those discriminatory laws. And as District Attorney, I will end those practices in Manhattan once and for all.”