The story of a New York bodega employee who is charged with murder for shielding himself from assault is a sad sign of the Big Apple era. Progressive District Attorney Alvin Bragg routinely grants criminals leniency, but he threw the book at the bodega clerk.
According to press reports, the dispute began on July 1 when a woman’s payment card was refused when she tried to buy a bag of chips. The video shows her yelling at bodega worker Jose Alba that her boyfriend “is going to come right over here and fuck you up.” The friend, 35-year-old Austin Simon, entered the bodega and surveillance camera footage shows him confronting Mr Alba and pushing and grabbing him.
Mr. Alba is said to have then stabbed and killed Simon. Mr Alba’s son told the New York Post that “at that moment he feared for his life”. The Post describes Simon as a “probationary career criminal for assaulting a police officer.”
Mr. Alba waited in the bodega for the police to arrive. Mr. Bragg’s office charged him with second-degree murder and initially required $250,000 bail. This was lowered to $50,000 after a public outcry. Mr. Alba was released from New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison with an ankle bracelet after paying 10%. Three unidentified benefactors guaranteed the rest.
Mr. Alba has not submitted a plea. Harlem’s Neighborhood Defender Service, representing him, said in a statement that “the video speaks for itself in this case: Mr. Alba was simply doing his job as he was aggressively cornered by a much younger and taller man.” The group says Mr Alba is 61 years old, but the New York State Unified Court System lists his year of birth as 1970.
A spokesman for Mr Bragg told local CBS affiliate on Friday that “we continue to review the evidence and the investigation is ongoing.” But the second-degree murder charge, which typically carries a 15 to 25-year sentence in New York, looks like the prosecutor’s draconian attempt to set an example for others who might try to defend themselves while the crime is underway increasing in the city.
In 2021, New York City homicides increased by 53% and crime by 10% compared to 2019, according to police data. Bodegas are top targets.
In May, a robber hit a 54-year-old Staten Island bodega worker in the head with a glass bottle and choked him until he passed out. In January, attackers attacked two employees at a Bronx bodega, leaving one in critical condition; According to the New York Post, one worker was stabbed to death while another was pistol whipped. That month, a man pointed a meat cleaver at a Queens bodega worker who was trying to stop him from stealing beer. There are many other cases.
Mr. Alba’s story is what happens when lawlessness becomes rampant, criminals expect impunity and innocent people believe the police won’t arrive in time to help. People begin to defend themselves in any way they have the right to, often with tragic results.
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-public-disorder-reigns-bodega-jose-alba-murder-stabbing-crime-new-york-11657473734 When Public Disorder Reigns – WSJ