Mount Vernon native and attorney William O. Wagstaff III announced his candidacy for the Westchester County District Attorney's office on Monday, Nov. 20.
Wagstaff's candidacy announcement comes nearly a month after the county's current District Attorney, Miriam Rocah, announced she would not be seeking re-election in 2024.
- Earlier Report - Westchester DA Rocah Won't Seek Re-Election: 'I Do Not Fit Mold Of Career Politician'
In his announcement, Wagstaff, a Democrat, said his unique background and range of experiences would make him a good fit for the job.
"Westchester needs a District Attorney who will prioritize protecting our communities and standing up for victims, while at the same time recognizing that our system does not always lead to just outcomes," Wagstaff said in a statement, adding, "I bring a unique background and perspective that I believe would make me the kind of District Attorney that Westchester needs at this moment."
According to Wagstaff, his background includes working on several high-profile civil rights cases in the Hudson Valley, including a lawsuit against the City of Poughkeepsie Police for allegedly using excessive force on two teenage sisters; representing a Hudson Valley Chapter of Black Lives Matter after they were allegedly victims of police surveillance; and a lawsuit against New Rochelle Police on behalf of the family of an unarmed man shot by the department.
He also worked on a settled $2.25 million suit against New York City for the death of a Riker’s Island detainee who was held in solitary confinement.
"As District Attorney, I will make Westchester County safer with integrity through the implementation of data-driven solutions for addressing gun violence, hate crimes, domestic violence, and property crime," Wagstaff said of his goals if he were elected.
Wagstaff currently serves as Special Counsel to Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard as well as Chairman of her Judicial Appointment Committee. He has also served as Mount Vernon's Special Prosecutor for Police Discipline, in which he has "held bad actors accountable but also supported law enforcement," according to his campaign.
He earned his law degree from Pace Law School and also holds a Master of Business Administration from Fordham Business School. He is a father of two children with his wife, Christina.
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