Bodega leaders ‘hopeful’ Manhattan DA Bragg will reduce charges on clerk accused of killing attacker

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Bodega leaders 'hopeful' Manhattan DA Bragg will reduce charges on clerk accused of killing attacker


Associations representing bodega owners in New York City said Tuesday they’re “very hopeful” that a store clerk facing murder charges will see either his case dropped or the charges lessened by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg following a morning meeting with the DA.

Bragg has been facing mounting pressure after charging bodega worker Jose Alba with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of a person in July in upper Manhattan who appears to have attacked the clerk behind the counter, according to surveillance footage.

“We’re very hopeful that Jose Alba’s case will be dismissed, will be dropped, by the district attorney,” said Fernando Mateo, a spokesperson and co-founder of United Bodegas of America, in a press conference after the meeting. The DA’s office has given no indication that it will drop the case or lessen the charges.

Mateo, a former Republican mayoral candidate, defended Bragg who has faced calls to resign from some Republicans over his more progressive policies on crime.

“Unlike what we have heard — that he is soft on crime and that the city is in shambles because of his actions — we didn’t feel that way,” Mateo said. “This meeting was very productive and very good.”

He was flanked by UBA members and those with the Yemeni American Merchants Association, who were also at the meeting on Tuesday.

Mateo acknowledged Bragg had not made a final determination on the matter, “but he certainly left the doors and the windows open for something like that to happen.”

Bragg walked the groups through the legal procedure that ensues after a crime is reported, according to the associations, who noted the investigation is still ongoing. A statement from Bragg’s office did not cite a decision on the matter.

“Today’s conversation centered on how to keep bodega owners and workers safe, including in a post-Bruen world when more people may legally obtain and carry firearms,” said Doug Cohen, a spokesperson for Bragg, in a statement, referring to the recent Supreme Court decision striking down New York’s restrictive concealed-carry gun law.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has been among those expressing support for Alba, who was released from Rikers Island on Thursday after a Manhattan judge lowered his bail from $250,000 to $50,000.

During an unrelated event Tuesday, Adams said he spoke with Bragg this week about the case but declined to get into specifics.

“We had a conversation about the case and I’m not going to go into the private conversations,” Adams told reporters. “Justice should be served here and I’m hoping that it is.”



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