Bragg’s utter injustice reveals just how backward the criminal justice system has become
Anyone looking for an example of how crime is killing the soul of New York need look no further than the case of Jose Alba. The outrageous arrest of the bodega worker who fatally stabbed a career criminal while defending himself perfectly illustrates the random danger of city life and the ass-backwardness of the criminal justice system.
The dead man, Austin Simon, was a thug who attacked the 61-year-old Alba, who was working alone at night in the small store on Broadway and 139th Street. Simon, 35, was on probation for assault and reportedly had been arrested at least 27 times previously.
Yes, you read that right, 27 arrests, and Simon reportedly did a stint in state prison for assaulting a cop. Yet there he was, free to hassle and attack an innocent man doing an honest job in a dangerous neighborhood.
In a sane and more just world, Alba never would have been charged. After all, any of the beleaguered citizens tired of living in fear and sick of the politicians who protect the guilty could end up in a situation similar to the one Alba faced.
Yet instead of recognizing Alba’s right of self-defense, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg predictably wants to lock him up. Bragg’s first move after charging Alba with second-degree murder was to push for bail of $500,000, which a judge cut in half.
Thankfully, it was later reduced to a bond of $5,000 and Alba was able to go home. There he told The Post, “At that moment, I was in shock,” he said in Spanish.“I didn’t know what to do and what to say. I feel very sad.”
Asked if he had a message for the dead man’s family, Alba said he was sorry and “I ask that they please forgive me because I didn’t want to do that.”
Those are hardly the sentiments of a killer, but Bragg wasn’t finished making a mockery of the law. He decided not to charge the attacker’s unidentified girlfriend even though store video shows her pulling a knife from her purse and stabbing Alba three times as the two men fought.
The prosecutor assigned to the case, Jennifer Sigall, told investigators the girlfriend was “justified in stabbing Mr. Alba, using force to stop his assault on the victim,” according to a police report obtained by Fox News.
That’s nuts — and a window into the upside-down values in Bragg’s office. The DA sees Simon as the victim, and so the girlfriend is seen as helping the victim.
In reality, Alba is the victim of both Simon and the girlfriend, and she ought to be charged. In fact, she was the instigator and first threatened Alba by telling him her boyfriend “gonna f–k you up,” the video shows.
The July 1 incident began when the woman tried to buy a bag of potato chips for her 10-year-old daughter using a food-stamp debit card. She became angry when the card was repeatedly denied and, claiming Alba was rude, ran home to get her 35-year-old boyfriend.
When Simon arrived and went behind the counter to confront him, Alba is heard on the store’s security video saying calmly, “Papa, I don’t want a problem, papa.” But Simon shoves Alba into the corner and wouldn’t let him go.
As they struggled, Alba reached for a knife and stabbed Simon five times even as the girlfriend was stabbing him with her knife.
A bodega owners group has taken up the cause by noting how vulnerable store workers are as violent crime continues to soar for the third consecutive year. The group demanded and got a meeting with Bragg, who told them he was “considering” the possibility of dropping the charges against Alba.
If he does, it will only be because the publicity around the case makes it too hot for his usual loony approach. His criminal-coddling instincts are reflected in the distorted decisions to prosecute Alba but not the girlfriend.
Imagine how Bragg handles the many cases that don’t get the media attention this one has.
The case strikes a chord because it has all the key elements of the city’s decline. The career criminal who is repeatedly turned loose to inflict more havoc, an innocent victim just going about his job and a video capturing how quickly a dispute can take a senseless turn to deadly violence.
Hovering over it all is a political class that blabbers incessantly about public safety but rarely does anything to actually make it happen. By my count, exactly zero politicians have come to Alba’s defense.
Where’s Mayor Adams? Where’s Gov. Hochul? Where are members of the Legislature and City Council? They have time to talk about everyday nonsense but won’t say a word about an innocent man being railroaded. Sadly, that’s par for the course, but still shameful.
There is only one path to justice in the case: Drop all the charges against Jose Alba. He should be a free man because he did nothing wrong.
Sen. Liz’s tant’Roe’m
Anytime Sen. Elizabeth Warren is before a camera, it’s must-see TV because there is always a chance she will self-combust.
The Democrat from Massachusetts exudes boiling anger and her rhetoric is increasingly extreme, even in this fund-raising pitch: “The Supreme Court’s extreme conservative majority is out of touch, out of control, and creating a legitimacy crisis for themselves.
“The American people are losing confidence in the Court. And for good reason, with the Court’s dangerous decisions on abortion rights, climate action, gun safety, and more . . . the Court is tossing aside settled law and saying they’re just going to substitute their own personal views and make the rest of America bend to it.”
As for the decision overturning Roe, she writes: “This opinion basically cites a bunch of folks from the 1700s and says, ‘Boy, that’s the way we want to go.’ To a time when aristocrats ran the world. When the only people who had voices were white men. When slavery was a way to make money.”
Her “burn it down” tone is reckless, but her argument is also noteworthy for what she neglects to say. Never does the former Harvard law professor mention the key word in the Court rulings she denounces: unconstitutional.
Or don’t they teach that at Harvard anymore?
Vlad news is worse
The news that Iran is sending armed drones to Russia is shocking — but not surprising. Birds of a feather and all that.
What is shocking is that the Biden White House nonetheless continues to let Russia represent the US in the Iran nuclear talks. So while President Biden calls Vladimir Putin a war criminal for raining death on Ukraine’s cities, he trusts him to make a deal that will keep the mad mullahs from getting nukes. Brilliant.