Bodega Worker Sues Manhattan DA for Malicious Prosecution After Self-Defense Stabbing

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Jose Alba, an employee of a New York City bodega, was in a dangerous situation on July 1, 2022, when he and his girlfriend were attacked. The man was killed when he used a blade to defend himself. The video showed the whole encounter. Alvin Bragg, Manhattan’s District attorney, still felt it necessary to prosecute him. Alba has now retaliated through the courts.

Bragg dropped all charges against Alba following a public uproar against his arrest. Bragg has now filed a lawsuit against the district attorney, alleging that he violated his civil rights.

The New York City bodega employee who was cleared of murder charges after video footage showed that he had acted in his own defense is suing District Attorney Alvin Bragg for civil rights violations.

Jose Alba, a former bodega employee who was assaulted behind the counter by Austin Simon, 35, and Tina Lee (his girlfriend), on July 1, 2022, filed a suit in the Southern District of New York, claiming he had been wrongfully prosecuted due to the Manhattan District Attorney’s “racial equality” policies. Bragg, NYPD detective William Garcia, and other unidentified arresting officers, detectives, and NYPD are named as defendants.

The complaint claims that “New York County district attorney Alvin Bragg, and/or his underlings, following Bragg’s policy of achieving ‘racial equality’ in the Manhattan criminal court system, charged Plaintiffs with murder in the second degree, and demanded high bail during Plaintiffs’ arraignment,” it states.

The couple had a dispute over a bag of chips in Alba’s store.

The deadly encounter began when Alba grabbed a bag of potato chips from the girlfriend’s 10-year-old daughter after the mom was unable to pay. The girlfriend and the child returned five minutes later with the outraged Simon, with Alba recounting the man shouting “Come fight me, come!”

His arrest was followed by a public outcry, and Mayor Adams was among those who defended the defendant. Alba, who had lived in the city for 35 years after emigrating to the Dominican Republic from Mexico, returned home once he was released from Rikers.

Bragg’s policies were intended to promote equality and fairness in the application of the law. In Alba’s situation, this was not an equitable approach. Bragg argued that Alba’s killing of a black person, even if done in self-defense, was a crime.

Bragg’s refusal to prosecute “crimes against poverty” is another way of empowering violent criminals. Alba’s story illustrates what a law-abiding person might experience if they are forced to defend themselves. It would have sent out a chilling signal to the public if he was prosecuted: victims must be allowed to be victimized, or they will face punishment.

Alba’s suit could be a step towards protecting those forced to defend themselves from violent individuals. It is clear that in a city like New York City, those who are put into these situations will need help to avoid government retribution.