Alvin Bragg Has Given New York City Over to ‘Lawlessness’: Democratic Councilman

Democratic New York City Councilman Robert Holden took aim at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s leadership—or perceived lack thereof—at a New York field hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on April 17.

“I’m here to address the lawlessness that has taken over the city in recent years as a result of the failed progressive policies implemented by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg,” Holden testified before the committee.

Noting that Bragg’s first year in office had been marked by a “dramatic shift” in the prosecution of crime, Holden asserted that the district attorney’s “soft on crime” policies suggested his top priority was not protecting law-abiding citizens but keeping criminals out of jail.

“On his first day in office, Bragg issued a memo that decriminalized a broad range of offenses and reduced charges for violent crime,” the councilman said. “This was a signal for every criminal that it was open season on law-abiding citizens in New York County.”

Bragg assumed office in January 2022. By the end of the year, overall index crime in the city had risen by 22.4 percent, year-over-year, according to the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Homicides, however, were down 11.3 percent—their lowest level since 2019.

Additionally, for the first quarter of 2023, homicides, rapes, robberies, and grand larceny all trended downward, year-over-year, though car thefts and felony assaults saw an increase.

But at Monday’s hearing, Holden noted that Bragg had made a habit of downgrading most felonies to misdemeanors and declining to prosecute others.

“Under Bragg, violent crimes such as resisting arrest, trespassing, fare evasion, prostitution are no longer prosecuted, which has led to a marked increase in criminal activity on the streets of Manhattan,” he noted.

“Serious offenses, such as knifepoint robbery, commercial and residential burglaries, weapons possession, and low-level drug dealing are being charged with lesser offenses or being plea-bargained down, resulting in shorter sentences or no jail time at all.”

According to Politifact, Bragg downgraded 52 percent of the felony cases his office reviewed in 2022 to misdemeanors. Further, for cases thus far in 2023, that percentage has increased to 54 percent.

And Holden is hardly the first person to criticize Bragg for his lenient approach to crime.

In recent days, the district attorney’s record has faced heightened scrutiny given his decision to upgrade falsification of business records charges—typically a misdemeanor in the state of New York—against former President Donald Trump to felony charges in a move that left some Trump critics scratching their heads.

“What is the legal theory that ties that very solid misdemeanor case, 34 counts of misdemeanors, to the intent to conceal another crime, which is what makes it a felony? It simply isn’t there,” former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told CNN on April 4.

However, seemingly in response to Holden’s comments, Bragg’s office shared a series of enforcement statistics on Monday via Twitter, stressing that gun and hate crime prosecutions had increased under his leadership and that, to date, homicides, shootings, robberies, burglaries, transit crime, and total index crime were down year-over-year in Manhattan.

“Under D.A. Bragg, outreach to domestic violence survivors, support of other victims and witnesses, and crisis responses by both counselors and advocates have all increased significantly,” his office added. “We also requested $1.1 million in new funding from the New York City Council to expand the Office’s Witness Aid Services Unit (WASU), which supports crime victims and witnesses.”

Bragg’s office previously criticized the Judiciary Committee hearing as a “political stunt” that would do nothing to increase public safety.

“In D.A. Bragg’s first year in office, New York City had one of the lowest murder rates in the United States (5.2)—nearly three times lower than Columbus, Ohio (15.4),” a spokesperson for Bragg’s office noted in an April 10 statement. “If Chairman Jordan really cared about public safety, he could take a short drive to Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Akron, or Toledo in his home state, instead of using taxpayer dollars to travel hundreds of miles out of his way.”

The Epoch Times has contacted Bragg’s office for further comment.

From The Epoch Times

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