On Friday, the first Black US Attorney for the Southern District of New York was sworn into office in a ceremony at the Harlem Armory.
Damian Williams, 41, made history at his ceremonial swearing-in and will oversee some of the most high-profile cases in his role. In fact, he inherited the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell and the investigation into Rudy Giuliani.
He said he would prioritize “civil rights enforcement,” among other issues, and announced a new civil rights unit.
“White supremacist groups are on the march. Anti-Semitism is on the march. Anti-Asian bias is on the march. Abuse of the most vulnerable in our society is on the march,” he said. “So I am proud to announce today that I have created a brand new civil rights unit in the criminal division of my office.”
Willaims said he understands “we are living in troubled times” currently. The new unit will build on work an existing team has already carried out for decades.
Senator Chuck Schumer, who recommended Williams for the position, and Attorney General Merrick Garland attended the swearing-in. The ceremony was also attended by former US Attorney General Eric Holder and former Governor David Paterson. Some of Williams’ predecessors, including Preet Bharara and Geoffrey Berman, were also on hand.