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A Democratic lawmaker has essentially put Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on notice regarding what critics view as his excessively soft-on-crime approach they also blame for rising violence in New York City.
As reported by Fox News, “a Democratic New York City councilman plans to testify Monday that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has contributed to the ‘lawlessness’ on city streets in a field hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee.”
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Councilman Robert Holden, who has served as the representative for the 30th district since 2018, identified himself as a Democrat and a lifelong resident of New York. Holden admitted to having “issues” with Bragg since his appointment as DA in 2022. According to Holden, the crime rate in New York City has increased “because of Bragg.”
“When Bragg came in, he issued that ridiculous edict that he was not going to prosecute smaller crimes,” Holden said. “What do we have in New York City? We have lawlessness on the streets.
“I have never seen the lawlessness we are seeing now,” he added.
The news outlet reported that Bragg took over for another far-left DA, Cyrus Vance, Jr. in 2022.
The hearing, to be held at the Javits Federal Building, is slated for Monday at 9 a.m. The goal is to “examine how Bragg’s pro-crime, anti-victim policies have led to an increase in violent crime and a dangerous community for New York City residents.”
Holden cited Bragg’s “day one memo” as having “raised alarm bells throughout the city.”
On Bragg’s third day in office, he issued a memorandum instructing prosecutors not to pursue jail terms for various offenses and to reduce charges, such as those related to robberies and commercial burglaries. Additionally, the DA stated that his office would no longer prosecute several crimes, including particular instances of trespassing, resisting arrest, and fare evasion.
“Under his policy, petty theft, even resisting arrest, prostitution, public urination will not be prosecuted,” Holden said. “This is a DA saying to that to the public.
“It is just stupid,” he noted further. “It’s just dumb.”
In addition, though, it appears as though members of his own party are at least partly to blame for the rising crime rates and repeat criminal behavior.
“We have a bad combination in New York,” he said. “There were 17 straight years of downward crime in New York City until that 2019 bail reform law.”
Because of those changes, members of the NYPD “don’t want to engage” with suspects.
“Even if they do engage, they’re going to get district attorneys like Bragg who are going to say, ‘We’re not prosecuting,’” he said.
“I credit Rudy Giuliani as the mayor who saved New York,” Holden said of the former Republican mayor. “I lived through that. They don’t like to hear it. But I lived through it.”
Holden says he is one of two moderate Democrats on the entire NYC council, and that the other members are “socialists.”
“We lived through the Cold War, and socialism did not work and still doesn’t work,” he said.
He said he is often encouraged to change party affiliations, but so far, he hasn’t done so.
“They say, ‘You should change parties,’ but I say, ‘Why?” I can offer a voice of reason in the Democrat caucus,” he said. “Most of the Democrats in New York City do not agree with their elected officials.
“I am not into this political game at all. This is to serve my constituents and to serve my neighborhoods.”
Apart from Holden, Committee Chairman Jim Jordan extended invitations to other witnesses to testify alongside him on Monday. Among those slated to testify are Paul DiGiacomo, the head of the Detectives’ Endowment Association in New York City, and Joseph Borgen, a Jewish man who suffered severe injuries after being attacked by a group during a pro-Israel rally, the news outlet reported.
“Other witnesses include Jose Alba, a bodega clerk charged with murder after acting in self-defense; Madeline Brame, the mother of a homicide victim and chairwoman of the Victims Rights Reform Council; and Jennifer Harrison, founder of Victims Rights NY,” Fox News noted.