If you weren’t from New York City, some media outlets would have you thinking that it needs Robocop. But Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who finds himself at the center of this message push, believes that he knows better.
Bragg has continued to push the same points he made when he campaigned: ending racial disparities on treatment in court, reducing gun violence, fighting for economic justice for labor, reforming pretrial detention, avoiding mass incarceration, freeing the wrongfully convicted, combating hate crimes and declining to prosecute low-level crimes that don’t threat the public safety.
Recently, he’s been called a threat to democracy and told that more people will go to prison during his time as DA (albeit from a skewed perspective).
Recently, a man named Scott Lolaido spilled red paint (taking the place of blood) outside of Bragg’s office blaming him for the recent crime surge due to his ‘woke’ policies even though he’s been in office for only one month.
Lolaido said all of it “Has to do with the f**king criminals who are let loose on the f**king streets through the revolving doors of justice because of woke district attorneys, bleeding heart district attorneys, like Alvin Bragg.”
Bragg wants the public to know that what he’s doing isn’t brand new.
“We’ve been doing this, you know, for years and in this office,” Bragg said. “But you [should] have the civil right to go to walk to your corner store safely. We’ve got to have that. But we can do that at the same time and support people who are coming home and returning from incarceration, provide housing, provide employment opportunities…If you supply those supports, recidivism goes down. It’s about refining the message, being specific with it, but really always starting with no one wants to be unsafe.”
Four police officers were shot in a four-day span in the city and an 11-month-old was shot, which led to outcries from conservative-leaning media outlets calling out Black Lives Matter for not talking about the shootings. The mantra of the city returning to the bad old days of the ’70s and ’80s has been a never-ending trope since Michael Bloomberg left office. It was the fear that led to the “tough-on-crime” Rudolph Giuliani era.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic many New Yorkers, except for those Black, Brown and of lower-income who had to work during the height of COVID death in the city, avoided the subway. There were stories about thousands of people leaving the city that were pushed by outlets like Fox News and others that focused on certain demographics. But Bragg isn’t paying attention to noise. He’s refining his style, responding when necessary and getting to work.
“And so that’s what I’m focused on, you know?” said Bragg. “We’re gonna respond, we need to clarify and correct the record. But this is what we’re doing on guns. Guns are important to us. You know, there’s more hate crimes. Hate crimes are important to us. But ultimately, we’ve got to be judged by our work. And so, we’re going to focus on the work.”
The place the crimes occurred have more to do with the outcry than the crime does, according to Bragg. He said they’re awful and shouldn’t be tolerated, but it has an effect.
Bragg said the crimes are high-profile because “we’re here in Manhattan and so people are going to always talk about it. I also think, look, people are concerned now. People are concerned about public safety, and rightfully so, given many of the sort of high-profile incidents.
“My office is vigorously prosecuting cases and hoping that the deterrent effect from those cases will yield public safety dividends,” continued Bragg. “At the same time. We’re also looking at how to invest going forward to prevent this kind of stuff from happening again.
“We, again, can do both.”