In his commentary “For prosecutors, DAASNY is a valuable resource,” Oct. 19, David Soares lauded himself and the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York as “progressive.” But what exactly does this mean? Soares has often opposed recognition of youthful offender status, which allows leniency to be shown to those in their teen years, and similarly his actions in the Marquis Dixon and Benjamin Van Zandt cases showed no support for “Raise the Age” legislation.

Soares has a history of refusing to take serious mental health issues into account in charging or plea-bargaining decisions, resulting in the incarceration of the mentally ill — which has sometimes had tragic and avoidable consequences, like in the Van Zandt case. He has not held law enforcement accountable for overzealous use of force resulting in death and injury, as in the case of Dontay Ivy. Sure looks “regressive” to me.

In fact, it is neither progressive nor regressive to suggest that district attorneys need independent oversight — it is plain common sense.

It is also only common sense to think that investigations of police use of force must be independent. Consider the recent case of Ellazar Williams. Many do not believe the police claims that Williams was armed and threateningly approached officers. Further, how can district attorneys be expected to thoroughly investigate officers on whom they depend for successful prosecution?

A truly progressive district attorney would use common sense and recognize the need to have fully separate and independent investigations of such incidents.

Link to original stroy on TimesUnion: https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Letter-Soares-has-a-long-way-to-go-to-be-13396592.php