DA Bragg shows he doesn’t care about NYC safety with Alba murder charge

The most instinctual human objective is to ensure one’s safety within one’s environment, yet the city is doing everything possible to stop people from doing that. That’s the message of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s decision to charge bodega worker Jose Alba with murder. And it’s prompting New Yorkers to no longer believe the city cares about their safety.

The signs are flashing in our faces like a malfunctioning traffic light. City institutions fail to protect citizens, fail to hold accountable the predators preying on the innocent via adequate prosecution and fail to acknowledge one’s right to defend oneself when a predator strikes.

On July 6, 51-year-old bodega worker Jose Alba found out what his city truly thinks of people who stand up for themselves when they’re being terrorized. Alba came face to face with someone who obviously didn’t care about the rule of law, considering he was on parole when he assaulted Alba, who didn’t care about your personal boundaries and who damn sure didn’t care about your right to remain safe.

After being assaulted multiple times by 35-year-old Austin Simon, Alba was put in a position that no rational person ever wants to be in: fighting for your life and winding up killing another human being. There is no obvious evidence that Alba intended to kill his assailant and he will likely be haunted by it for the rest of his days. Taking someone’s life, no matter how heinous that person may be, is no light matter. But my sympathy does begin to wane when that life belongs to a predatory wolf preying on innocent sheep.

Yet despite the encounter being caught on video — which clearly shows Alba acted in self-defense — Bragg’s office is still willing to levy punishment on the sheep that fought back.

Bragg harbors more sympathy for repeat offenders: He manufactures reasons to let longstanding criminals out of jail or to decrease their sentencing, but he’ll throw the book at a man who defended himself against an urban terrorist. I have one question for Bragg: What should Alba have done instead?

Jose Alba was attacked, killed his assailant, and then was later arrested and charged with murder.
Jose Alba was attacked, killed his assailant, and then was later arrested and charged with murder.
Alec Tabak

Should he have just stood there and taken the beating as the violence escalated? Should he have hoped that the encounter would end with some merchandise being taken instead of his life? Should he have let the wolf devour him, only to have Bragg find a way to go easy on the perpetrator?

The city’s crime situation is getting worse, yet the people in charge are doing little about it. Since the de Blasio regime, the NYPD has been the scapegoat for every social problem, and that has led to pessimism within the department and animosity against its officers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio left the citizens stuck in the middle to deal with the ramifications, and Eric Adams has done far too little to change the scenario./i/

Two years ago, the NYPD’s average critical response time was seven minutes, seven seconds; today, it is nine minutes, 31 seconds. Overall crime in June 2022 is up over 30% from June 2021. More than 1,500 NYPD officers have either resigned or retired this year, a figure on pace to mark the largest mass exodus of officers ever.

The reality is that there are fewer officers to protect working-class people who work and live in high-crime areas, like Jose Alba. Alba understood the reality: No one was coming to save him. He needed police protection, but there was none in sight at that moment.

Americans used to take solace, perhaps naively, in the knowledge that their right to protect their personhood would always be respected by our justice system, but New York is rapidly proving that presumption false. Jose Alba now must face an uphill battle, fighting to save his good name after being tarred as a murderer and for his freedom, his most cherished asset.

If Alba is somehow found guilty for fighting back against criminal tyranny, then New Yorkers should understand this new reality: When you’re in danger, no one is coming to save you, and if you try to save yourself, you’re likely to be condemned for it.

Adam B. Coleman is the author of “Black Victim To Black Victor” and founder of Wrong Speak Publishing.

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