*Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman on the New York Court of Appeals, was found dead last month in the Hudson River. At the time, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said NYPD had completed its investigation into her death and found no foul play. They concluded that her death likely was a suicide.
In the latest development, the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner announced last week that cause of death was drowning.
”It’s an incredibly sad situation,” Eric Phillips, spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, told USA TODAY via e-mail Wednesday. “The legal community and our entire city are very much reeling from the loss.”
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A spokeswoman for Abdus-Salaam’s family, told USA TODAY that the family had no comment at this time and any future statements and updates will be posted on the website created after the judge’s death.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who’d appointed her to the Court of Appeals bench in 2013, called her a “trailblazing jurist and force for good.”
Abdus-Salaam “was first elected judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York in 1991. She was elected as a justice for New York State Supreme Court in 1993 and 2007.”
She was hailed as a hero by the LGBT community “after her 2016 Court of Appeals decision that expanded the legal definition of what it means to be a parent.”