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Sheila Abdus-Salaam, NY Judge, Washes Up Dead On Hudson River Shore

Sheila Abdus-Salaam, NY Judge, Washes Up Dead On Hudson River Shore
HARLEM, NY — Sheila Abdus-Salaam, a 65-year-old judge for the New York Court of Appeals who made history in 2013 when she became the first black woman — and the first Muslim — appointed to the state's highest court, was discovered dead Wednesday afternoon in the Hudson River off the Harlem coastline, according to the NYPD.
The NYPD harbor unit recovered Abdus-Salaam's body from the Hudson River around 1:45 p.m., police told Patch.
"Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all," New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement issued late Wednesday.
"As the first African-American woman to be appointed to the State’s Court of Appeals, she was a pioneer," Cuomo said. "Through her writings, her wisdom, and her unshakable moral compass, she was a force for good whose legacy will be felt for years to come."
A police spokeswoman said Abdus-Salaam's body was pulled from the river Wednesday and transported to West 125th and Marginal streets, where paramedics pronounced her dead.
An NYPD investigation into her death is ongoing, police said. The medical examiner's office will be in charge of determining her official cause of death.
Abdus-Salaam lived on West 131st Street in Harlem, according to police records. She was reported missing from her home earlier in the day Wednesday, sources told the New York Post.
Abdus-Salaam served as an associate judge on the New York State Court of Appeals. When she was appointed to the court by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013, she became the first black woman, and the first Muslim, to ever take the seat.
"I was proud to appoint her to the state’s highest court and am deeply saddened by her passing," Cuomo said Wednesday. "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest sympathies to her family, loved ones and colleagues during this trying and difficult time."
Prior to the Court of Appeals, Abdus-Salaam served as a judge in New York City civil court, and was later elected to the state's Supreme Court.
Abdus-Salaam began her legal career at East Brooklyn Legal Services. At one point, she also worked as an assistant attorney general in the New York State Department of Law's civil rights and real estate financing bureaus, according to her official biography.
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