Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will drop the murder charge against a bodega worker accused of stabbing a man who appeared to accost him behind the counter, according to a motion filed Tuesday in criminal court.
Bragg has been facing immense pressure to dismiss the charge against Jose Alba, 61, a clerk at a Harlem bodega who was accused earlier this month of stabbing a person seen attacking him in surveillance footage.
Bragg, a progressive who took office in January, has faced scrutiny from both sides of the aisle over Alba’s murder charge, which critics have lambasted as unfair in the face of evidence that he was defending himself.
“Following an investigation, the People have determined that we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not justified in his use of deadly physical force,” according to a motion filed by Bragg’s office. “As such, the People will not be presenting the case to a Grand Jury and for the reasons provided in the attached memorandum, hereby move to dismiss the complaint.”
Bragg recently met with two bodega associations, the United Bodegas of America (UBA) and the Yemeni American Merchants Association, to discuss the issue of self-defense in reference to Alba.
Following the meeting last week, the UBA said it was “very hopeful” that Bragg would drop the charges. Bragg’s office publicly responded by saying that it was continuing to investigate the case.
The charges against Alba have caused waves of political outcry. Conservatives who have long gone after the district attorney, including Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for governor, called for Bragg’s resignation.
Some Democrats have likewise come out in support of Alba, the most prominent of whom has been New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who said in a recent radio interview that “hardworking New Yorkers, and Americans to be honest with you, should not be attacked in their place of work.”
A court date in Alba’s case previously set for Wednesday has been moved to Tuesday at noon, according to the DA’s office.
This is a developing story.