New Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has already angered many New Yorkers with his outrageous internal policy memo sent to his staff prosecutors. Bragg’s policy memo is a pro-criminal directive to his staff that makes it much easier for dangerous criminals to escape imprisonment and operate with virtual impunity on the city’s streets. “My commitment to making incarceration a matter of last resort is immutable,” Bragg’s memo stated.
Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said earlier this month that Bragg is “handcuffing the police.”
Bratton pointed out that far-left progressive district attorneys around the country have received funding from radical billionaire George Soros. Some of Soros’s funding is channeled through such organizations as a Color of Change’s political action committee, which endorsed Bragg.
“If you look at every city in America that has violent crime increases and disorder increases…what is the one common denominator?” Bratton asked rhetorically. “District attorneys, almost all of whom are funded phenomenally by George Soros.” Bratton added that Soros has “effectively destroyed the criminal justice system in America.”
Torpedoing Manhattan’s law enforcement apparatus through his well-funded left-wing ideologue is Soros’s latest trophy.
New York City’s current Police Commissioner, Keechant Sewell, wrote to her 35,000 officers that she was “very concerned” that Bragg’s policies would impact “your safety as police officers, the safety of the public and justice for the victims.”
In his policy memo, Bragg identified certain classes of criminal offenses that his office will no longer prosecute in most circumstances, including resisting arrest, obstructing law enforcement, and trespass. Bragg’s office will also “not seek a carceral sentence” – i.e., jail time – for cases other than homicides, domestic violence, some sex crimes, public corruption, rackets, and other major economic crimes.
Bragg’s assistant district attorneys must obtain the approval of a supervisor for “any charge of attempt to cause serious physical injury with a dangerous instrument.” Under Bragg’s policies, a wanted ex-convict who allegedly threatened a drugstore worker with a knife after reportedly stealing more than $2,000 worth of merchandise received a slap on the wrist from Bragg’s DA office. He should have been charged with first degree armed robbery and criminal possession of a deadly weapon. Instead, Bragg’s office ended up charging the repeat offender with petit larceny and other low-level offenses, and released him from custody. This criminal was coddled, while the store manager who was threatened with a knife and traumatized by the experience did not count.
Bragg’s office will not seek a sentence of life without parole for any crime, no matter how vicious. More generally, his office will request no more than a maximum of 20 years for any crime, except where the crime carries a maximum sentence of life. In the latter case, Bragg’s office will push for a sentence that could be as low as 20 years.
In other words, Bragg seems to have no problem letting a 21-year-old repeat criminal convicted of murdering an elderly woman in cold blood during the course of an armed robbery back on the streets at age 41. That would give the convict plenty of opportunity to rob and kill another innocent victim, if he or she so chooses.
Terrorists and cop killers are also breathing a sigh of relief with Bragg as Manhattan’s DA.
Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo said, quite rightly, that Bragg’s plan “will result in … more crime and increased shootings. In Bragg’s Manhattan, you can resist arrest, deal drugs, obstruct arrests and even carry a gun and get away with it.”
“It may be new to him, but DA doesn’t stand for ‘defense attorney,’” said U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican candidate for New York governor. “It stands for district attorney. If Alvin Bragg wants to keep people out of prison, he should go be a defense attorney.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate, U.S. Rep Tom Suozzi, said, “It can’t [sic] OK that the Queens DA prosecutes for resisting arrest, but the Manhattan DA does not. This is a green light for chaos.”
On top of the no-cash bail law passed by New York State’s progressive legislature, Manhattan District Attorney Bragg’s reckless prosecution policies are putting people’s lives and property in serious jeopardy. New York City is reverting to the bad old days of the 1970’s when crime was rampant, and it was known as “Fear City.”
It is no wonder that calls are already rising for Bragg to resign or be removed from office. Since Bragg is unlikely to leave voluntarily, removal proceedings against him should be commenced immediately.
The current Democrat governor, Kathy Hochul, does not appear interested in using her statutory authority to commence proceedings to remove Bragg, despite a petition drive that has been organized requesting her to do so.
However, New York State law provides for removal of public officers through an alternative process:
“Any town, village, improvement district or fire district officer, except a justice of the peace, may be removed from office by the supreme court for any misconduct, maladministration, malfeasance or malversation in office. An application for such removal may be made by any citizen resident of such town, village, improvement district or fire district or by the district attorney of the county in which such town, village or district is located, and shall be made to the appellate division of the supreme court held within the judicial department embracing such town, village, improvement district or fire district.” (Emphasis added)
Bragg’s refusal to prosecute certain classes of crimes that are punishable under New York State law and to give stay-out-of-jail free cards to even hardened violent criminals is unconscionable. By undermining law enforcement for ideological reasons, Bragg has engaged in gross misconduct, maladministration and malfeasance. Obviously, Bragg is not going to apply for his own removal. It is up to the citizen residents of Manhattan to initiate the process to remove him.
If law abiding New Yorkers want any semblance of a safer environment in which to live, they need to commence the process to remove Bragg immediately.