Progressives, NYPD pushed for Cy Vance to quit

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is being squeezed out of office at both ends — with progressives on one side complaining he isn’t woke enough, and the NYPD on the other saying he’s soft on crime, The Post has learned.

The borough’s top prosecutor on Friday announced that he would not seek re-election, despite scoring two major recent wins that would’ve otherwise guaranteed a fourth term, a source familiar with his office said.

“He was stuck in the middle,” the insider told The Post.

“He’s the old guard white guy, so he’s not getting support from the new guard,” the source added.

“But he’s really doing the new guard’s work and picking up the baton and telling the NYPD we’re going to do things differently.”

Given the disapproval from both ends of the political spectrum, “I think he may feel he’s not the best guy for the job going forward,” the source said.

"He's the old guard white guy, so he's not getting support from the new guard," a source told the Post.
“He’s the old guard white guy, so he’s not getting support from the new guard,” a source told The Post.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

Vance has been butting heads with the NYPD as his office adopted more progressive policies, including refusing to prosecute low-level protest arrests stemming from George Floyd demonstrations, the person said.

“They wanted these low-level arrests and to have more information about more people who break the law is good for law enforcement,” the source explained.

“But Vance saw that it was time to do things differently. He was fighting with the police department on one hand — and the new guard on the other.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's office seen in New York City.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office in New York City.
Christopher Sadowski

The source said the sentiment from cops — who’ve been under siege with the growing “Defund the police” movement — was that the DA’s office “betrayed them,” even though Vance has worked hard to maintain a relationship with the department.

“From the police department’s perspective, it was, ‘We’re going to arrest these people and you’re just going to let them go. Whose side are you on?’” the person said.

“He’s not a fighter. He’s not going to want to spend his days fighting with the police department.”

The source said Vance has taken the “rough press and criticism” of his work hard.

“He’s not your typical politician. He’s not Andrew Cuomo,” the person said. “He’s a man with a heart.”

Vance, 66, was first elected in 2009 and won his most recent term in 2017, when he ran unopposed in the general election.

He recently secured the high-profile conviction of Harvey Weinstein, the fallen filmmaker accused of a decades-long reign of sexually assaulting women, as well as a legal battle to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns as part of a criminal probe.

Some progressives never forgave him for declining to prosecute Weinstein in 2015.
Some progressives never forgave him for declining to prosecute Weinstein in 2015.
(Kevin C. Downs for The New York

Yet some progressives never forgave him for declining to prosecute Weinstein in 2015, after an Italian model accused him of groping her, then caught him on an NYPD tape admitting to it.

In November, a group of Weinstein accusers cited that failure in endorsing former Manhattan prosecutor Lucy Lang to replace him.

Still, the recent Weinstein and Trump tax-record victories would’ve likely been enough to secure another term — if Vance wanted to stay.

“He feels like if he’s going to turn the DA’s office over, now is the time to do it,” the source said. “If you, the new generation, think you can do a better job, who are we to stop you? Let’s give you a chance.”

Spokesman Danny Frost denied Vance was cutting his DA career short, saying that when he first ran in 2009, he told his friends and family that he never wanted to remain in office for more than two to three terms. 

Frost added that Vance’s relationship with the police department and progressives didn’t play a role in his decision. 

The NYPD didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Additional reporting by Lia Eustachewich

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