Manhattan DA describes "challenging" two weeks, faces calls for removal

AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

After roughly two weeks in his new position as the Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg has had some time to reflect on the firestorm of criticism he’s come under. Speaking to a church congregation this weekend, Bragg confessed that it has been a “challenging” couple of weeks and even suggested that he “might not have done everything perfectly.” That’s an understatement if I’ve ever heard one, but at least he’s recognizing the error of his ways and showing that he’s willing to consider a different approach, right? Not in the least. He places the blame for all of the controversy surrounding him on the press and the public that apparently fails to recognize his brilliance. He then dropped back into campaign mode, returning to the stories he told on the campaign trail of his time growing up in Harlem, explaining that he’s the guy who understands what it’s like out on the streets and he knows what needs to be done. (NY Post)

New Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg admitted Sunday that his first two weeks in office have been “challenging” — amid backlash over his progressive prosecutorial policies.

“It has been a challenging two weeks, church family. Challenging,” he told congregants during morning service at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

But still, Bragg, a former federal prosecutor, insisted he was the right man for the job.

Bragg went on to describe how, before he reached the age of 21, he’d had “a semi-automatic weapon pointed at my head” and he’d also “had a knife to my throat.” He described finding a homicide victim on his doorstep and told how he had been shot at. I’m sure we can all sympathize with someone living under such challenging conditions and there are far too many New Yorkers experiencing those same things on a daily basis today. But if you really did live through all of those traumatic experiences, wouldn’t you come away from that part of your life with a desire to make sure the same things didn’t happen to somebody else? And wouldn’t you realize that getting criminals off the streets is the only way to reduce those experiences?

Not in Bragg’s view. He repeated his belief that “when you provide housing and employment to those returning from incarceration” recidivism goes down. Unfortunately for New York, the evidence doesn’t point in that direction. When you remove disincentives from committing crimes, more crimes are committed by repeat offenders. And he’s not looking to provide anything for “those returning from incarceration.” He’s trying to stop them from being incarcerated to begin with.

In other words, Bragg plans to go on doing exactly what he’s doing. Reports of a knife-wielding maniac who was released after having his charges reduced haven’t swayed him. The new NYPD commissioner accusing him of making police officers less safe hasn’t changed his mind. Nothing has worked.

That brings us back to the idea that this guy simply needs to be removed from office. Unfortunately, when I suggested this previously, I had forgotten that there is no provision under the state constitution allowing for a recall in such a case. It would require an amendment to the constitution, passed by the legislature and approved by the voters before that could happen, and that would take years. (A petition has been launched to do just that, however.) There are steps the Governor could take to begin a possible removal process, but she would never take such an action against a DA from her own party. So it seems as if the people of Manhattan are stuck with this guy for the foreseeable future, including the police officers who will face additional dangers on the streets because of him. If nothing else, perhaps the voters will have learned their lesson and choose a bit more wisely next time.