New York politicians are calling for Alvin Bragg to drop Jose Alba’s murder charges

A group of New York City elected officials are demanding that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg drop his case against bodega employee Jose Alba over the stabbing death of an ex-con who assaulted him behind the counter.

The bipartisan group of city council members said prosecutors’ controversial, progressive approach to law enforcement is to “reward the guilty and punish the innocent.”

“The fact that you are even prosecuting Mr. Alba shows how your perverse sense of justice not only protects violent criminals but actively seeks to destroy the lives of crime victims,” ​​lawmakers wrote to Bragg on Thursday.

The group also called Bragg’s handling of Alba’s case “particularly harrowing” given his generally pro-crime policies and the “countless cases in which defendants have been allowed to plead minor charges and later commit more crimes.”

“Your approach is not a policy of restorative justice or exculpation,” the letter reads.

“They simply reward the guilty and punish the innocent.”

Jose Alba
Jose Alba is leaving the graves and entering the custody of the NYC Sheriff’s Department on July 7, 2022.
Alex Tobacco
Alvin Bragg
District Attorney Alvin Bragg was attacked for “active search”.[ing] to destroy the lives of crime victims.”
Stephen Hirsch

The letter was written by councilors Robert Holden (D-Queens), Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island), Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn), David Carr (R-Staten Island), Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn) and Joann Ariola signed (R-Queens) and Vickie Paladino (R-Queens).

In a milder statement Friday, Councilor Shaun Abreu (D-Manhattan), whose district covers the murder scene, said the murder charge against Alba “should be reexamined on the basis of publicly available video evidence strongly suggesting self-defense.”

“The events of July 1, just two blocks from my office, underscore the need for public safety and a fair justice system,” Abreu said.

“It is critical that our justice system investigates the facts fairly in this case to avoid further aggravating this tragedy.”

Officials’ statements followed comments by Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday, who said: “My heart goes out to this hardworking, honest New Yorker who was doing his job at his store where a person came in and went behind the counter and assaulted him .”

Alba, 61, is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Austin Simon, 35, at the grocery store at 3422 Broadway in Hamilton Heights just after 11 p.m. July 1.

Surveillance video shows Austin shoving Alba against a wall of merchandise and attempting to lead him away when the older man fought back and stabbed him in the neck.

Jose Alba
Video footage shows the bodega worker being pushed by Austin Simon.
Jose Alba
Alba is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Simon.

The argument was allegedly instigated by Simon’s friend, who accused Alba of taking a bag of chips from her daughter’s hand when the mother’s electronic ration card was declined as payment.

In a statement to police, Alba reportedly said: “He wanted me to come and apologize to the girl. I took the knife we ​​use to open boxes and I stabbed him.”

“Although you have no criminal record and no video showing Mr Alba in self-defense, you have charged him with second-degree murder and asked the court to hold him on $500,000 bail, which the judge only set at $250,000 reduced,” the council members wrote in the letter to Bragg, a Democrat.

Austin Simon reportedly wanted Alba to apologize for allegedly stealing chips from a girl.

“This approach to justice makes most New Yorkers think the city is on a self-destructive path to oblivion.”

On Thursday afternoon, Bragg’s office changed its position on Alba’s bail, asking a judge to reduce it to $50,000 so his family could come up with $5,000 in cash and secure his release on bail.

Alba refused to answer reporters’ questions when he later arrived at his Hamilton Heights apartment wearing an electronic surveillance tag.

He is scheduled to appear in court again on July 20.

Bragg spokesman Doug Cohen said Friday, “We continue to review the evidence and the investigation is ongoing.” New York politicians are calling for Alvin Bragg to drop Jose Alba’s murder charges


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