New York: The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York is one of the most powerful law enforcement positions in the country, overseeing some of its highest-profile cases, from terrorism to political corruption to financial crimes.
But the job had never been held by a Black person — until now.
Damian Williams is the first Black US Attorney for the Southern District of New York
At his ceremonial swearing-in on Friday, Williams announced the formation of a new civil rights unit within the office.
Williams also pledged to take on financial crimes and gun violence and to reconnect with communities in the district.
“You know, and I know, that moments like this don’t just happen like that,” Williams said. “The road here has been paved, step by step, by generations of people, of all colors and nationalities.”
He added: “I owe it to the people who paved this path to do my job with excellence.”
A host of legal luminaries were on hand for the event, including US Attorney General Merrick Garland and several of Williams’ predecessors in the job, including Geoffrey Berman and Preet Bharara.
“I hired him to the US Attorney’s office a number of years ago,” Bharara said. “And he was as close to a no-brainer hire that I ever made.”