Last week, we looked at the growing conflict between the new Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, and the policies of the newly installed Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams. Adams campaigned on a promise to restore law and order, rebuild the NYPD, and start locking up violent criminals. In short, he needs to get the Big Apple’s ongoing crime wave under control if he hopes to live up to the claims he made on the campaign trail. Bragg, by contrast, kicked off his tenure by sending out a memo forbidding his prosecutors from seeking to imprison anyone except for the most violent and dangerous felons or even force them to post bail while awaiting trial. Clearly, something has to give.
We may have gotten a preview of how this dispute will play out this weekend. Adams appointed Keechant Sewell to be the new NYPD commissioner and shortly after Bragg’s memo went out, she sent out one of her own to the rank and file cops. She informed them that she is “concerned for their safety” in light of Bragg’s policies. And she has plans to bend Bragg’s ear on this subject and see if there is any common ground to be found.
“I have studied these policies and I am very concerned about the implications to your safety as police officers, the safety of the public and justice for the victims,” Sewell wrote in the email obtained by The Post.
“I am making my concerns known to the Manhattan District Attorney and hope to have frank and productive discussions to try and reach more common ground.”
District Attorney Alvin Bragg, in his first memo on Monday, instructed his staff to stop prosecuting many low-level offenses, to seek reduced charges for certain crimes and not to ask for bail except in the most serious cases.
Curiously, Adams has thus far defended Bragg, despite his plans to basically continue the “catch and release” system for New York criminals that came into vogue under Bill de Blasio. That is perhaps understandable because he doesn’t want to start his first week in office by going to war with one of the District Attorneys. But Sewell appears to be far less tolerant. She told her officers that she had already blasted Bragg over his demand that his prosecutors do not prosecute charges of resisting arrest. That, she said, is going to invite more violence against police officers since anyone attacking a cop during an arrest will know that they won’t take additional charges for the attempt.
Sewell also condemned Bragg’s original stated intent to liberally reduce felonies to misdemeanors. For example, someone who holds up a liquor store will only be charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor, instead of a felony, even if they used a gun. (Providing nobody was shot.) She has already won that battle, because by the end of the week, Bragg rescinded part of his original memo and said that armed robbery would still be charged as a felony. Of course, after being convicted, the armed robbers sill won’t be getting any jail time.
For his part, Bragg said he was “surprised” by all of the “pushback” his original memo generated.
Newly installed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg defended his controversial policies in a Harlem speech Saturday saying it had been a “long week” that left him surprised about the “push back” on his progressive agenda.
“I’m new to politics but I’m steadfast. We are going to stay the course,” Bragg said at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters.
The fact that he was giving the speech at Al Sharpton’s headquarters probably tells you all you need to know about Bragg. He doesn’t plan to back down anymore than he already has on the armed robbery charges. This guy is so completely clueless and out of touch with the community that it’s hard to believe. How does he think Eric Adams managed to get elected? People are frightened and angry about all of the violent crimes taking place in the streets. And he’s walking in the door announcing that he’s going to put as many criminals as possible back out into their neighborhoods? In some ways, it’s the fault of the people of that district who elected him. But now that he’s shown his true colors, Manhattan needs to schedule a course correction in the form of a recall referendum for Bragg.