Mina Malik, a former prosecutor of physical and sexual child abuse who most recently served as a Deputy Attorney General for Public Safety for the District of Columbia, has thrown her hat in the ring as a candidate for the Queens District Attorney race on Tuesday.
Malik grew up in Elmhurst and Corona with her union worker parents, who are Asian and Hispanic, and has raised her own family with African-American civil rights attorney Derek Sells. Together they have raised sons Justin, a West Point cadet, and Jordan, a student of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
As a person of color who grew up in working-class communities, Malik wants to reform the way the criminal justice system treats minorities and blue-collar folks.
“I have seen firsthand that the status quo isn’t working for the people of Queens. Growing up in a basement apartment in Corona, I saw the contrast between the vibrancy and diversity of our communities on one side and the lack of diverse representation in our law enforcement on the other,” said Malik. “Queens is the most diverse county in the country, but for too long our justice system has been an instrument of outdated policies that have caused immense harm for communities of color and the poor. That simply cannot continue.”
As a prosecutor, Malik served at the Queens County District Attorney’s Office for 15 years with a concentration in Special Victims where she oversaw the investigations, prosecutions and litigation of child homicides and adult sex crimes. She later assisted in the day-to-day operation of 1,200 employees as Special Counsel to District Attorney Ken Thompson in Brooklyn.
“As Queens District Attorney I will end cash bail, hold police accountable when they break the law and establish a conviction review unit like the one I helped design with former Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson,” said Malik.
As a Deputy Attorney in DC, she oversaw 110 employees on matters ranging from restorative justice, juvenile justice and domestic violence, according to Malik. Before this role, she was an executive director of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, a police oversight agency staffed with 200 employees.
“The next District Attorney must be a leader in the fight for racial, social and economic justice – a fight against inhumane mass incarceration, against the cradle-to-prison pipeline, and against the criminalization of poverty,” said Malik. “Instead of spending our resources cycling kids into jail cells, we will redouble our focus on the serious crimes I have prosecuted throughout my career, and bring to justice those who prey on women, children and the elderly.”
Malik is in a crowded race against Borough President Melinda Katz, public defender Tiffany Cabán, Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), retired Queens Supreme Court Judge Gregory Lasak and Deputy Chief Jose Nieves, of the New York State Office of the Attorney General.
On Monday, Katz received an endorsement by the Queens County Democratic Party, Cabán was endorsed by the city’s Democratic Socialists of America, Lancman by former Chief Judge of New York Jonathan Lippman and Lasak was endorsed by the NYS County Clerks Association.
“This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to provide that representation and create a system that ensures true justice for all of us,” said Malik.