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New York City’s medical examiner’s office ruled Wednesday that Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam’s drowning in April was a suicide, the New York Daily News reports.

The body of Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman to serve on New York’s highest court, was found dead in the Hudson River on April 12. Finding no signs of criminality, the police closed the investigation on May 3.

According to the New York Times, investigators at first thought her death was “suspicious.” However, they began to lean toward suicide after viewing surveillance video that showed Abdus-Salaam, 65, walking around for hours in Riverbank State Park, about a half-mile north of where her body was found.

Abdus-Salaam’s husband, the Rev. Gregory Jacobs, had rejected any notion of suicide, saying anyone who knew his wife well would dismiss that claim, though the judge was believed to suffer from depression, the Daily News said.

The judge was one of seven children in a poor family. She grew up in the District of Columbia, and earned a law degree from Columbia University, where she was a classmate of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Abdus-Salaam began her career as a public defender in Brooklyn, and later became an assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State attorney’s office.

Holder attended her swearing-in ceremony in 2013 as an associated judge on the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest bench.

SOURCE:  New York Daily News, New York Times


New York Medical Examiner Rules That Black Judge Committed Suicide was originally published on

4 thoughts on “New York Medical Examiner Rules That Black Judge Committed Suicide

  1. Because she was walking around the park for hours doesn’t mean she killed herself she could have been waiting to meet someone who eventually killed her or maybe someone ceased an opportunity when spotting her there on the river. The video doesn’t show her getting into the water. Plus speculating she was probably suffering from depression is a reach. How convenient to list her death as an suicide just to close the case.

  2. Sheryl Smikle on said:

    Why is it necessary to mention she was ‘from a poor family?’ Focus on the quality of your writing, for example: it is ‘associate judge’ not ‘associated judge. It is so frustrating that proofreading is not part of the copy production process. If it is, perhaps outsourcing this task is best.

    • specialt757 on said:

      AMEN Sheryl. No real professionalism anymore. It used to be a shame to make grammatical & spelling errors by journalists, now it’s expected and accepted. Our quality, self-pride and dignity is shot to hell, there’s no accountability anymore.

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