Longtime prosecutor Robert Capers was ceremoniously sworn in Friday at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Hundreds of people attended the event, including family members, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys.
“I am realizing my dream today,” Capers said. “I promise I won’t let you down.”
Among the many people he credited for his career success were his father, a former NYPD homicide detective, and mother, who worked as a teacher and guidance counselor.
Present were U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who Capers succeeded in the Eastern District post, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who nominated Capers.
Schumer said Capers is “in the mold of Loretta Lynch — really smart, hardworking, nose to the grindstone. Not flashy, but gets the job done.”
The Eastern District U.S. attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer for the area that includes Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
The district’s 180 federal prosecutors are divided into two offices, one in Brooklyn and one in Central Islip. The office is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes and representing the government in civil actions.
Capers was confirmed to the post unanimously by the Senate in December and took over in January.
Most recently under Capers, the office obtained a guilty plea from former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke in a case growing out of his beating a Smithtown man who stole a duffel bag from his department-issued sport utility vehicle.
When asked at a news conference after the Burke arrest in December if the office’s investigation into local law enforcement and politicians on Long Island was continuing, Capers replied: “Stay tuned.”
When Schumer recommended President Barack Obama nominate Capers in May, the senator said Capers, who is black, and whose father and brother were New York police officers “understands the delicate balance between protecting the community from the threat of crime and protecting the civil rights of people in the community.”
Capers graduated from New York University, where he was co-captain of the basketball team, and Albany Law School.
Since 2003, he has been a federal prosecutor. Before joining the Justice Department, Capers was a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.