Manhattan District Attorney ‘remembers’ crimes, but even social justice fighters will get tired of being victimized

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Nearly a decade of relentlessly progressive changes to the New York City criminal justice system may have finally bottomed out with the election of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. in Nov.

Last week, the newly minted DA, who made history as the first African American elected to the post, issued a 10-page memorandum to his staff that essentially dismantles New York’s criminal law.

ERIC ADAMS’ NYPD COMMISSIONER BLOWS MANHATTAN’S SOFT-ON-CRIME APPROACH INTO MEMO

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, center, speaks during a press conference outside an apartment building where a deadly fire occurred in the Bronx on Sunday, January 9, 2022, in New York.  (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, center, speaks during a press conference outside an apartment building where a deadly fire occurred in the Bronx on Sunday, January 9, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

It aligns with the progressive prosecutors movement’s goals of emptying prisons and transforming the justice system into a less punitive system. Bragg defies the promise of recently elected New York Mayor Eric Adams to curb the rise in violent crime and vows he will not face charges for evasion of tariffs, trespassing and resisting arrest. Criminals, beware.

By refusing to prosecute violations of the law, Bragg has weaponized the prosecutors’ discretion and twisted his target in an unfortunate quest for social justice. This approach only serves to further damage the communities Bragg indulges in. Minority communities in New York City — and urban areas across the country — want the criminal scourge removed from their midst. In August 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Movement protests, a Gallup poll found that 81 percent of African Americans want the same or more police presence in their neighborhoods.

FILE - Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks with supporters on election night in New York City, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

FILE – Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks with supporters on election night in New York City, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)
(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

An analysis of the 2020 murder wave conducted by The Marshall Project found that minority communities were hardest hit, with 85 percent of the increase in murders being in communities of color. The “solution” to this wave? Well, Alvin Bragg’s progressive prosecutor colleagues in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco think they have the answers. And yet efforts to defund the police, reduce bail reforms, and depolice have not been hugely successful in cities where politicians imposed them. We are about to witness the natural course correction of dangerous overrange in New York City. It started just days after Bragg’s memo was made public.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell sent an email to her police criticizing the district attorney’s plans. She cited a fifty-nine percent increase in “quality of life” complaints to the city’s 311 information line and expressed concern that “[i]In addition to gun possession, I am concerned that pre-trial detention will no longer be sought on charges such as terrorism, criminal sale of a firearm, robbery with firearms… and other serious violent crimes.” Bragg defended his views at an Al Sharpton meeting. , who, straight-faced, argues that he didn’t understand the pushback. Even fellow DAs in New York City disagree with Bragg’s misguided ideological approach.

QUEENS, NY - DECEMBER 15: New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams holds a press conference to introduce his pick for new Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell on December 15, 2021 at an anti-violence community center in the Queensbridge Houses in Queens, New York.  Sewell, the first African-American woman to be appointed to this position, grew up in the homes of Queensbridge.  (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

QUEENS, NY – DECEMBER 15: New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams holds a press conference to introduce his pick for new Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell on December 15, 2021 at an anti-violence community center in the Queensbridge Houses in Queens, New York. Sewell, the first African-American woman to be appointed to this position, grew up in the homes of Queensbridge. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

This “soft on crime” approach has been tried before. Just ask any New York City resident old enough to remember the criminal heyday of the 1970s and 1980s. One could argue that New York was simply broke and lacked the necessary resources for the police during those decades. In the following 1990s and 2000s, however, a tougher application of the police was needed to bring about the complete turnaround of the city. Yes, policy is important. Good policies contribute greatly to deterrence and act as a social insurance policy, ensuring public safety for all. So how did we get to this place? And will New Yorkers continue to tolerate having their police handcuffed?

The first signs of cracks in New York’s hard-earned public order image became apparent during Bill de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign, based on the complete dismantling of the New York City Police Department’s “Broken Windows” crime-fighting successes. De Blasio has now spent the past eight years steadily curtailing effective tactics such as “Stop, Question, and Frisk” and disbanding the wildly successful Anti-Crime Unit, efforts begun under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton. Giuliani’s successor, Michael Bloomberg, continued the successful policy that had earned New York the title of “America’s Safest Big City.” But at his inauguration in 2014, De Blasio rejoiced: “Make no mistake: the people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set out together.” Here we are.

This “progressive path” has devastated the proud city where I worked as a “street cop” in the FBI’s New York City Office from 1991 to 2016. The city’s homicide rate of 2,245 victims was counted in 1990, the year before I arrived. In the two and a half decades that followed, the NYPD’s efforts had reduced the homicide rate to below 300. The NYPD’s proactive policing methods, combined with New York City’s prosecutors’ focus on prosecuting crimes and incarcerating dangerous criminals helped transform the Big Apple. into a tourist mecca, an inviolable center of safety, security and resilience. Political leaders had the courage to confront the policy extremism now proudly displayed in the Manhattan DA’s Office. Not anymore.

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This irresponsible “reinterpretation” of New York criminal law did not happen overnight, of course. The impact of policies on crime evolves slowly, taking time to fully manifest. Criminals need to learn where the line is before they can adapt. Permissive environments indifferent to crime, as “Broken Windows” warns, tend to encourage more crime. Revolving door recidivism, fueled by Bragg’s style of discretionary enforcement and New York state’s ill-conceived “bail reform laws,” will continue to make New York City less safe.

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Even the social justice fighters in New York City will be tired of the city falling victim. They will have their say at the polling station. As the old saying goes, walk on a worm, and even it will turn.

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