During the funeral mass for murdered NYPD Officer Jason Rivera, his widow, Dominique, speaking from the sanctuary of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, charged Manhattan’s new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, with coddling criminals.
“The system continues to fail us,” she said. “We are not safe anymore, not even the members of the service.”
Looking down at her husband’s casket, she said to him, “I know you were tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new DA. I hope he’s watching you speak through me right now.”
Reacting to those remarks, the men and women in blue sitting in the Cathedral’s pews, rose to their feet and gave Dominique a standing ovation as DA Bragg looked on.
Police, as well as many civilians, object to the Day 1 Memo Bragg released shortly after being sworn in to uphold the law on Jan. 1, 2022.
Frankly, I found the bulk of Bragg’s 11-page memo appalling. Here’s a few of the more salient organizational changes:
• “Success and promotion will no longer be tied to conviction rates.”
I guess that means assistant district attorneys will be rewarded for losing cases or having criminal charges dismissed.
• “…a new Pathways to Success Bureau will be instituted that will make clear throughout the District Attorney’s Office that alternatives to incarceration should be the norm, not the exception.”
In other words, fewer and fewer convicted criminals will go to jail.
• “The following charges will not be prosecuted under any circumstances”: marijuana misdemeanors, fare evasion (turnstile jumping), trespass, driving with a suspended license, consensual sex trade, resisting arrest for any non-criminal offense, and “outdated offenses such as obscenity.”
The public uproar over these new felony guidelines forced Bragg to clarify several of his pronouncements. He insisted that “gun possession would be taken seriously” and “violence against police officers would not be tolerated.”
But those clarifications do not go far enough. Bragg’s remaining policies effectively gut the Broken Windows Theory that has guided the NYPD since the 1990s.
That theory, proposed by the renown social scientists James Q. Wilson and Robert Kelling maintained that one broken window in a neighborhood “is a signal that no one cares and so breaking more windows cost nothing.”
Hence, they concluded “serious street crime flourishes in areas in which disorderly behavior goes unchecked. The unchecked panhandler is in effect the first broken window…. Muggers and robbers, whether opportunistic or professional, believe they reduce their chances of being caught or even identified if they operate on streets where potential victims are already intimidated by prevailing conditions.”
Safe and Clean Neighborhood programs, carried out by NYPD Commissioners Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly adopted “Broken Windows” and crime dropped to all-time lows.
The repeal of those policies began under Mayor Bill de Blasio, who denounced the calls for “law and order” as racist.
The result: Crime increased in nearly every category in 2020 and 2021. Murders in 2021 hit 500—a number not seen since 2011.
And if DA Bragg’s soft-on-crime policies remain in force—expect crime to skyrocket in Manhattan.
The one person who can do something about Bragg’s misguided plans is Gov. Kathy Hochul. She has the authority to remove a district attorney if he fails to carry out the duties of the office.
At a recent New York Post Editorial Board meeting, Hochul said: “I have options, but I will be monitoring the situation very closely…. I’ll be having a conversation very shortly to convey, to let him tell me what his plans are and make sure that we’re all in alignment.”
After the Rivera funeral, at a Hochul-Bragg tete-a-tete in the governor’s New York City office, she reminded the embattled DA that “safety and justice must go hand-in-hand.”
But will Hochul follow through? I doubt it.
When she had her first opportunity to side with the victims of crime, she blew it. Hochul came out against Mayor Adams’ call to restore the “dangerous standard” that gives judges the discretion to deny bail to pre-trial suspects convicted earlier of major or violent crimes.
Hochul’s opposition to Adam’s request is disgraceful.
The one-time centrist Hochul has sold out to the far left in her quest to be elected to a full term in November.
Hochul, Bragg, and their radical confreres, are more concerned with fantasyland, ideological formulas than dealing with the reality of crime in the streets.
Should they continue their flawed “social justice” campaign, the quality of urban life will continue to decline and before long the Big Apple will be designated—as it was in the 1970s when Limousine Liberals governed—“Fear City.”