July 15, 2024

On July 1, 2022, Jose Alba, a New York City bodega worker, found himself in a life-threatening situation when he was attacked by a man and his girlfriend. He used a knife to defend himself, killing the man. The footage showed the entire encounter. Yet, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg still saw fit to try prosecuting him. Now, Alba is firing back through the court system.

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Bragg dropped the charges against Alba after a fierce public outcry against his arrest. Bragg is now suing the district attorney for violating his civil rights.

The New York City bodega clerk who had murder charges dropped after video showed he acted in self-defense is suing District Attorney Alvin Bragg and NYPD for civil rights violations.

Jose Alba, an ex-bodega worker who was attacked behind the counter on July 1, 2022, by 35-year-old Austin Simon and his girlfriend, Tina Lee, filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on Friday alleging he was wrongfully prosecuted because of the Manhattan district attorney’s “racial equity” policies. The complaint names Bragg, NYPD Detective William Garcia, and unidentified arresting officers and detectives of the NYPD as defendants in the case.

“New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg and/or his subordinates, following Bragg’s policy to achieve ‘racial equity’ in the Manhattan criminal justice system, charged Plaintiff with murder in the second degree and asked for high bail at Plaintiff’s arraignment,” the complaint states.

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The incident began when the couple was unable to pay for a bag of chips at Alba’s store.

The deadly encounter began when Alba grabbed a bag of potato chips from the girlfriend’s 10-year-old daughter after the mom was unable to pay. The girlfriend and the child returned five minutes later with the outraged Simon, with Alba recounting the man shouting “Come fight me, come!”

A public outcry followed his arrest, with Mayor Adams among those coming to the defense of the defendant. The 62-year-old Alba, a 35-year resident of the city after immigrating from the Dominican Republic, returned to his homeland once released from Rikers Island.

The policies Bragg relied upon were ostensibly intended to promote fairness and equality in the application of the law. But in Alba’s case, there was nothing equitable about this approach. From Bragg’s point of view, the fact that Alba killed a black man – even if it was in self-defense – was worthy of prosecution.

Moreover, Bragg’s dedication to refraining from prosecuting “crimes of poverty” is yet another way to empower violent criminals. Alba’s case underscores the consequences a law-abiding citizen might face if presented with a situation in which they must defend themselves. If he had been prosecuted, it would have sent a chilling message to the rest of the populace: Victims must allow themselves to be victimized or face punishment.

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Alba’s lawsuit could pave the way to protecting those who are forced to fend for themselves against violent individuals. In a place like New York City, it seems apparent that those put in these situations need all the help they can get to avoid retribution from the government.

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