Facing criticism that he’s soft on crime less than a month in office, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Friday met with Gov. Kathy Hochul, who called their meeting a “productive conversation.”
Bragg has come under fire for a memo he issued shortly after he took office which announced a new approach to prosecuting certain crimes in Manhattan -- including reducing some crimes to misdemeanor status, and in many cases not seeking jail time for offenders.
Critics have called on Hochul to use her powers as Governor to remove Bragg from the job. After the meeting Hochul issued a statement saying:
"My highest priority is protecting the safety of New Yorkers. I met with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg today and we had a productive conversation. I reiterated my belief that safety and justice must go hand-in-hand. I will continue to work with all of our District Attorneys, Mayor Adams, the NYPD, and every New Yorker who is working to restore our sense of security and enforce our laws.”
Bragg won a crowded Democratic primary race last year, replacing Cyrus Vance who opted not to seek re-election. Bragg has been criticized for not prosecuting shoplifting cases, which have gone up at retail stores during the pandemic. In a statement, Bragg reassured New Yorkers that he is working with business owners to ensure that merchandise is not being stolen. Bragg said of his meeting with Hochul:
“Our conversation included the importance of accountability, preventing shoplifting by breaking up burglary rings, keeping the trains safe, deterring brazen conduct and reducing gun violence. I‘ll be working in partnership with her and in close coordination with the NYPD, the Mayor and other local partners toward our common goal - protecting the people and businesses of Manhattan and keeping all New Yorkers safe.”
Since his memo received negative attention, Bragg has hired a new communications team, blaming his memo as poorly messaged, rather than being a major departure from prosecuting certain crimes.