MANHATTAN — New Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is already facing calls to resign or be removed from office following a controversial memo he sent to prosecutors in his first week in office.
Bragg told assistant district attorneys they should no longer seek jail or prison time for some offenses, including marijuana misdemeanors, refusal to pay subway and bus fare as well as prostitution.
“If you are suffering from addiction or mental health and you commit a low level crime, we’re going to get you the services you need,” Bragg said in an interview with PIX on Politics. We’re not going to incarcerate you.”
In the memo, Bragg also told prosecutors they should not push for jail time in some robbery, assault and gun possession cases where no other crimes are involved. Bragg told PIX11 News his priority is addressing violent crime.
“You hit a law enforcement officer, you’re going to be prosecuted, that’s very serious,” Bragg said. “I have prosecuted armed robbery throughout my career. You go into a store with a gun and robbing we’re going to prosecute that.”
Bragg’s policies have been criticized by the unions that represent the NYPD’s officers and detectives as well as Republican candidates for governor Lee Zeldin and Andrew Guiliani.
“Alvin Bragg is refusing to do his job and enforce the law,” Zeldin said during a rally outside the district attorney’s office. “So Kathy Hochul needs to do her job and remove the district attorney of Manhattan.”
Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli called Bragg “pro criminal, anti-cop and anti public safety.”
Bragg responded to critics.
“There are people vested in the status quo, they’re taking the policy and they’re running with it to fear monger for their own agendas,” he said. “I am focused like a laser on safety and fairness.”