Alvin Bragg, the new district attorney of Manhattan, New York, announced his office is downgrading charges for many felonies and will seek prison sentences for only a handful of crimes.
Bragg, a Democrat who was elected in November, outlined his policies in a “Day One Letter” sent to all staff on Monday, saying they were “effective immediately.”
“The Office will not prosecute the following charges, unless as part of an accusatory instrument containing at least one felony count,” the letter read.
The offenses that no longer will be prosecuted include marijuana misdemeanors, prostitution, resisting arrest, fare dodging and trespassing.
Bragg also said his office would “not seek a carceral sentence” except for homicides, violent felonies, domestic violence, some sex offenses, public corruption, rackets and major economic crimes.
“This rule may be excepted only in extraordinary circumstances based on a holistic analysis of the facts, criminal history, victim’s input (particularly in cases of violence or trauma), and any other information available,” the memo read.
The DA instructed prosecutors to “use their judgment and experience to evaluate the person arrested, and identify people: who suffer from mental illness; who are unhoused; who commit crimes of poverty; or who suffer from substance use disorders.”
This order from Bragg comes in spite of the fact that New York City saw a surge in crime last year.
Particularly, theft and larceny increased throughout the city.
“The number of robberies jumped 15.8% (1,450 v. 1,252) and felonious assaults increased by 13.8% (2,123 v. 1,865) year-over-year,” the outlet reported. “Grand Larceny and auto thefts were also up sharply in October compared to the same period last year. Auto thefts are up almost 15% for the year versus 2020.”
Last month, the New York Police Department reported an even bigger jump in November. “Overall index crime in New York City increased by 21.3% in November 2021, compared with November 2020 (10,186 v. 8,396),” it said.
Overall, the city has seen homicides increase about 50 percent and shootings double since 2019, the Daily Mail reported.
Bragg claimed in his letter that his “policy changes not only will, in and of themselves, make us safer; they also will free up prosecutorial resources to focus on violent crime.”
As a candidate, he was supported by leftist billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
“Mr. Soros also pledged $1 million to the super PAC Color of Change, aimed at helping another district attorney candidate, Alvin Bragg. A spokeswoman for the super PAC said that nearly $500,000 had been spent on Mr. Bragg’s behalf as of Friday,” The New York Times reported last June.
The New York Post reported in December that Soros’ wealth was flowing to candidates through political action committees in an effort to finance a change in criminal justice.
“The goal of the myriad PACs is focused on electing progressives to end tough policing and mass incarceration,” the Post said.
The impact of this effort across the country has not gone unnoticed.
“George Soros has quietly orchestrated the dark money political equivalent of ‘shock and awe,’ on local attorney races through the country, shattering records, flipping races and essentially making a mockery of our entire campaign finance system,” Tom Anderson, director of the Government Integrity Project at the National Legal and Policy Center in Virginia, told the Post.
Now that the Soros-backed Bragg is in office as Manhattan’s DA, many police officers are not happy with the changes he is making to the city’s criminal justice system.
“Bragg gives criminals the roadmap to freedom from prosecution and control of our streets,” Paul DiGiacomo, the head of the NYPD Detectives’ Endowment Association, told the Post.
Patrick Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, the NYPD’s largest union, also voiced “serious concerns about the message these types of policies send to both police officers and criminals on the street,” the report said.
“Police officers don’t want to be sent out to enforce laws that the district attorneys won’t prosecute,” Lynch said. “And there are already too many people who believe that they can commit crimes, resist arrest, interfere with police officers and face zero consequences.”
The Post also quoted a Manhattan police officer as saying, “This is outrageous. He was elected to enforce the law. If he wanted to change them, he should have run for a state office.”