We Were Wrong About Progressive DAs. They Do Want to Lock People Up: Victims | Opinion

We're been wrong all along. We believed Manhattan's progressive District Attorney Alvin Bragg when he campaigned on a platform of decarceration. We took him at the word of his memo that he didn't believe in locking people up—even those with gun charges.

Turns out, we were wrong to believe him. DA Bragg does want to lock people up, it is just the wrong people. He's going after victims instead of criminals.

That's the lesson of the story of Jose Alba, a New York City bodega clerk who stabbed and killed his assailant. Alba was attacked by a career criminal named Austin Simon, who came to the store and attacked Alba after Simon's girlfriend argued with Alba because her EBT card was declined. Video shows Simon walk behind the counter, push Alba and physically assault him. To defend himself, Alba grabbed a knife and stabbed Simon, who died of his injuries.

This is clearly a textbook case of self-defense. Simon had at least eight prior arrests, including robbery and assault during a domestic dispute, and was on parole for assaulting a police officer at the time of the bodega incident. And yet, the Manhattan District Attorney's office—run by the same DA who said that pulling a gun on someone is not a violent offense—charged Alba, a man without a criminal record, with second-degree murder and sent him to Riker's Island, where he was imprisoned on a $250,000 bail.

It is an outrage—and yet, it is not an aberration but rather a perfect example of the perplexing way crime is being addressed in New York and other cities across the country where progressives rule. Violent criminals are allowed to terrorize citizens and given leniency when they are caught, forcing regular citizens to fend for themselves against repeat offenders. And when the victims of violent crime refuse to submit, they are treated like criminals.

Jose Alba
Jose Alba, a bodega clerk, is attacked by Austin Simon YouTube screenshot

This is the logical endpoint of progressives's endless compassion for criminals. Criminals wielding illegal guns should be given the benefit of the doubt but innocents defending themselves have the book thrown at them. Progressives demand we end cash bail—and then turn around and demand Alba be held on $500,000 bail for the crime of defending himself from a criminal.

Where is the bail reform crew demanding justice for Jose Alba?

They are silent, though outside the confines of progressive social justice, Alba has garnered near unanimous support. Even Mayor Eric Adams offered his support. "It's time for New Yorkers and Americans to start standing up for people who follow the law, and that's what I'm going to do," he vowed.

Not everyone shares his sentiment. A GoFundMe page that was setup to defend Alba was removed. The company insisted that this was just policy, and that their terms of service prohibit fundraising for the legal defense of a violent crime. So why was Jacob Blake—who famously pulled a knife on officers trying to detain him while he was in an active domestic dispute and had an open warrant for his arrest—able to raise over $2 million on GoFundMe?

The message is clear: One of these men is a model citizen and it is not the poor bodega worker.

And by remaining silent and not supporting Alba, progressives are sending another clear message to criminals: You have nothing to fear. Whose streets? Your streets.

The more our elites prioritize criminals over the protection of regular citizens, especially those working-class Americans living in the neighborhoods these criminals are allowed to terrorize, the more out of touch they become and the greater the divide between the classes gets.

Our only hope may be regular Americans noticing this in greater numbers and speaking out against it. It's time to demand change and throw our elite leaders out.

Charles Love is the executive director of Seeking Educational Excellence, host of The Charles Love Show, and the author of "Race Crazy: BLM, 1619, and the Progressive Racism Movement."

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.