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Tipsheet

Justice: Amid Outrage, Bragg Reverses Charging Decision in Apparent Self-Defense Shooting

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is infamous for downgrading criminal charges, dropping more than half of all felonies to misdemeanors last year.  It's part of his criminal-coddling ideology.  That's one of the reasons why so many people view Bragg's pursuit of felony charges against former President Trump as flagrantly political.  Rather than devising ways to avoid or lessen potential penalties in this case, Bragg is effectively inventing a felony -- resting on a never-before-tried legal theory, based on facts that multiple entities have already reviewed and determined do not merit a prosecution. Including Bragg's own office.  But there's another side to this man's bizarre and perverse approach to "justice."  In a rare but striking subset of cases, Bragg seems to go out of his way to slap excessive charges on New Yorkers involved in violent incidents...who defend themselves against criminals.  Being soft-on-crime is destructive enough.  Having such a soft spot for criminals that you are instinctually hostile toward acts of self-defense against their predations is even worse, which brings us to this story from over the weekend:

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A Manhattan parking garage attendant who was shot twice while confronting an alleged thief — then wrestled the gun away and opened fire on the suspect — has been charged with attempted murder, police said. The overnight worker, identified by cops as Moussa Diarra, 57, was also hit with assault and criminal possession of a weapon charge in the Saturday incident, which unfolded around 5:30 a.m. as the attendant saw a man peering into cars on the second floor of the West 31st Street garage, the sources said. Believing the man was stealing, the attendant brought him outside and asked what was inside his bag. Instead of cooperating, the man pulled out a gun, the sources said. Diarra tried to grab for the weapon, and it went off — leaving him shot in the stomach and grazed in the ear by a bullet before he turned the firearm on the would-be thief and shot him in the chest, sources said. 

The suspected thief, identified as Charles Rhodie, 59, was also charged with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, as well as burglary, police said late Saturday...“That’s self-defense. The guy tried to rob his business,” she told The Post. “He’s there for security. That’s literally his job, to defend his business. … He takes his job seriously. … Attempted murder charge has no place there. He [robber] came to find him at his job with his gun, he [Diarra] has to defend himself.” An individual who works nearby the garage, which is across from Moynihan Train Station, was also incredulous. “You are kidding. That’s an April Fool Day joke, right?” the worker asked of the charges against Diarra, adding, “How can a hardworking man get arrested for defending himself?”

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So a criminal shows up to commit crimes, is confronted by a security guard (whose job is to stop such crimes), pulls a gun on him, and in the ensuing struggle, the guard is shot twice.  The wounded guard then wrestles the gun away and shoots the criminal.  Both men stand charged with attempted murder.  In what conceivable way are the charges against the victim justified?  Perhaps there are details that have not been made publicly available, I thought -- or perhaps Bragg's office will back down.  With an outcry growing louder, that's exactly what happened:  

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will not prosecute the parking-garage attendant who shot a suspected thief after getting wounded himself, the DA’s office told The Post on Sunday. Moussa Diarra, 57, was shot twice by alleged thief Charles Rhodie, 59, early Saturday before turning the tables on the suspect and pumping a bullet into him with the accused criminal’s handgun, authorities said. But Bragg — who is already under fire for indicting former President Donald Trump last week in a fraud-related case — will dismiss the case against Diarra “pending further investigation,” his office said. The raps remain against [the criminal].

The initial charges looked like a sick joke, and it shouldn't have taken widespread outrage to make things right.  The situation, including the about-face, is also reminiscent of another clear-cut case of self-defense from last year that Bragg wanted to prosecute harshly, before relenting in the face of intense and righteous outrage.  Remember this?
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A hard-working Manhattan bodega clerk who was forced to grab a knife to fend off a violent ex-con, now finds himself sitting behind bars at the notorious Rikers Island jail charged with murder and unable to post $250,000 bail. The sky-high bail for Jose Alba — who has no known criminal history — was just half of what controversial Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office demanded, despite surveillance video showing the clerk being assaulted by his alleged victim in the bodega. Alba, 51, was charged with the fatal stabbing of Austin Simon, 35, who can be seen storming behind the counter at the Hamilton Heights Grocery on Broadway and West 139th Street to attack the store worker Friday night...During the fight, Simon’s girlfriend allegedly stabbed the worker in the shoulder with a knife she had in her purse, according to Alba’s defense attorney — but she is not facing charges. Bragg’s office, however, charged Alba, a dad of three who moved to the US from the Dominican Republic 30 years ago searching for a better life, with second-degree murder. He became a US citizen 14 years ago.

Bragg had this victim rot in jail for days until enough pressure was brought to bear and justice prevailed. But Bragg's prosecutorial impulse spoke for itself.  I've also seen people raising this related example of Bragg's egregious decision-making:

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has spent the better part of the last year prosecuting a woman for murder. There's a catch: He publicly expressed, multiple times, that he didn't believe it was a murder. It's an odd scenario for a prosecutor to put himself in. But for Tracy McCarter, the New York woman who in March 2020 killed her abusive, estranged husband, James Murray, it was more than odd. Bragg explicitly campaigned for office on her innocence, calling the killing "self-defense." And though the evidence would appear to corroborate that assertion, he instead continued the prosecution he promised to end, subjecting McCarter to restrictive bail conditions and proceeding toward a trial. That changed late last week. "After carefully reviewing all the evidence and extensively discussing this matter with members of my office, I have a reasonable doubt of whether Ms. McCarter stabbed Mr. Murray with the requisite intent to support a conviction of murder in the second degree," Bragg wrote in a letter to Justice Diane Kiesel of the New York State Supreme Court...Apart from Bragg's potential hostility toward self-defense claims, there's also the fact that Bragg is a politician, prone to playing politics over fulfilling promises.

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"Playing politics"? Perish the thought.  Meanwhile, the Washington Post's 'fact checker' is bending over backwards to try to claim that Bragg critics describing him as 'Soros-funded' are lying.  That spin has not gone over well, in light of the actual facts:

As we've noted before, left-wing billionaire George Soros' political donations have funded the campaigns of Bragg and other weak 'progressive' prosecutors all across the country.  Soros is proud of it, publicly boasting of his investments in this agenda.  Noticing these facts and stating them out loud is not dishonest, and it's not "anti-Semitic."  Leftists rail against conservative mega-donors by name all the time.  It was an obsession of the previous Democratic Senate majority leader, in fact.  I'll leave you with some of the people screaming 'anti-Semitism' over Soros criticism (for the sole and obvious purpose of shutting others up) getting deservedly roasted by their own shameless hypocrisy:

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