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Alvin Bragg, Manhattan’s progressive district attorney who has come under fire over New York City’s crime surge, remained silent Tuesday when asked about remarks by Mayor Eric Adams that the criminal justice system has been turned into a “laughingstock of our entire country” as violent suspects continue to be released back onto the streets to unleash more havoc.
Bragg was asked about the mayor’s comments during a news conference on a gun-trafficking investigation and seemed to avoid the question.
“As the commissioner said, we are law enforcement partners rowing in the same direction, focusing on the types of cases that we are here today to talk about and that’s what we’re here today to talk about,” he said at NYPD headquarters in Manhattan.
He later refused to answer questions from the New York Post outside Manhattan DA headquarters upon exiting a vehicle.
Adams, a former NYPD officer who took office in January amid promises to curb New York’s crime wave, has repeatedly cited soft-on-crime policies for enabling offenders to commit violence. On Monday, he lashed out against prosecutors and judges, saying “bad guys no longer take them seriously.”
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“People no longer believe that you can’t do a shooting in the city,” he said during a news conference in Brooklyn. “If we do the work to get it to the grand jury, to get that indictment, to make the arrest, then the other team must do their part,” he added, saying judges must make sure dangerous offenders stay behind bars.
“No one takes criminal justice seriously anymore,” said Adams. “These bad guys no longer them seriously. They believe our criminal justice system is the laughingstock of our entire country.”
On Tuesday, Bragg was also asked if he was following the recall election that eventually ousted San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin hours later. Boudin faced criticism over his criminal justice policies such as eliminating cash bail and gang enhancements. Recall supporters pointed to increased violent crime, shoplifting and open-air drug trade as reasons to vote for his removal from office.
“I’m focused on New York City. I’m focused on crime here and doing the kinds of cases we’re talking about today,” he said.
Bragg has also come under fire from law enforcement and elected officials over his prosecutorial policies. A one-page memo released days after he took office earlier this year ordered Manhattan prosecutors not to seek prison sentences for a slew of crimes and to downgrade charges – including for robberies and commercial burglaries.
It specifically stated that a robbery should be downgraded to petit larceny if the brandishing of the weapon “does not create a genuine risk of physical harm.”
The office came under fire when it began implementing the progressive policy.
An ex-convict was arrested for felony robbery for allegedly stealing more than $2,000 worth of merchandise from a Duane Reade store and waving a knife at a worker who tried to stop him. Bragg’s office downgraded the charge to petit larceny, the New York Post reported.
The city has made gains in combating gun violence in recent weeks. In May, the number of shootings declined, with 118 incidents reported, compared to 172 in the same time frame last year, according to the NYPD. The reduction was attributed to revived anti-crime units that were disbanded under former Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Despite the gains, the majority of New Yorkers believe the city has become less safe and many fear they could become a crime victim, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Siena College Research Institute. Seventy percent said they feel less safe in the city now than before the pandemic.
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Half of those polled said they have changed their daily routine to feel safer, which included at least 40% of adults in every borough, gender, age, race, party or income level.
Only 29% of New York City adults believe Democratic Mayor Eric Adams is doing an excellent or good job as mayor overall, while 64% said he is doing only a fair or even a poor job.
Fox News’ Jon Brown and Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.