(Luis Cornelio, Headline USA) A former bodega worker, Jose Alba, who was charged with murder after defending himself against a violent attacker, has filed a lawsuit against embattled Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, alleging racial discrimination.
Last year, a viral video captured Alba’s harrowing struggle for survival as he defended himself against the relentless assault of ex-convict Austin Simon. The incident took place after a dispute between Alba and Simon’s then-girlfriend, igniting Simon to violently leap over the counter and attack the 61-year-old worker.
Bodega worker, Jose Alba, charged in fatal stabbing of a man who attacked him, which looks like a case of self-defense. pic.twitter.com/fB4H2Fh7vS
— BG is Home! (@ViralShid) July 7, 2022
The video ignited a wave of criticism directed at Bragg, who has been criticized for his purported “soft-on-crime” stance, leading many to believe that New Yorkers are left to fend for themselves due to lax law enforcement.
Alba’s attorneys argue that their client was unfairly targeted due to Bragg’s controversial “racial equity” policy, which they believe has resulted in unintended discrimination against certain defendants based on race.
“While in theory, Bragg’s ‘racial equity’ policies are a well-intentioned attempt by him to implement even-handed justice, the means and methods employed by Bragg have instead had an opposite effect and resulted in discrimination against certain defendants based on race,” the lawsuit stated, as reported by the New York Post on Saturday.
Alba, a Dominican immigrant and a diligent worker, found himself facing second-degree murder charges from Bragg, who set his bail at an astonishing $500,000, despite the video evidence and numerous pleas from prominent lawmakers and community members. Following massive bipartisan pressure, Bragg dropped the charges.
The lawsuit alleges that Alba’s financial limitations to pay the harsh bail landed him on New York’s notorious Rikers Island, where he endured “inhumane and unconstitutional conditions.”
Even New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a fellow Democrat, voiced his support for Alba’s release.
— New York Post (@nypost) July 7, 2022
“My heart goes out to the employee who was in the store doing his job,” Adams said at the time of the arrest. “I am hoping that we take all of that into consideration, as this hard-working New Yorker was doing his job, and someone aggressively went behind the counter to attack him.”
The lawsuit comes after failed negotiations for a pre-lawsuit settlement between Alba and Bragg, whose tenure has been marked by controversy.
Bragg has faced accusations of prosecuting powerless New Yorkers while neglecting cases involving politically charged figures, namely former President Donald Trump.
Most notable was the case of Daniel Penny, a Marine veteran hailed as a hero for defending bystanders on a subway train. Penny used a deadly chokehold to subdue an unhinged homeless man, Jordan Neely, who had violently threatened bystanders minutes before.
BREAKING: Marine veteran Daniel Penny indicted for subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely pic.twitter.com/Cv78ifONbV
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) June 14, 2023