Manhattan DA Tries to Dodge Blowback After His Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Memo to Prosecutors Went Public


Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

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To review: [Manhattan DA Alvin] Bragg calls out five provisions of criminal law.

Two of the provisions cover only gun crimes.

The third covers only “deadly weapons,” like knives (not pork chops).

The fourth covers only the actual use or immediate threat with a dangerous instrument.

The fifth covers only the actual use of physical force, not the threat of physical force.

Then, Bragg told his lawyers not to prosecute these crimes.

Instead, suspects “should be charged under “155.25,” which is misdemeanor larceny.

In short: If you hold a gun to a clerk’s face and ask them to empty the cash register, it’s a misdemeanor, with a theoretical year in prison, but, in practice, no real punishment.

What aren’t [Police Commissioner Keechant] Sewell, [Partnership for New York City chief Kathy] Wylde and the rest of us understanding?

After winning last June’s primary election, Bragg had six months to prepare this thing — and ask friends, foes, legal advisers, and PR experts to give him confidential feedback. “You know, Alvin,” they would likely have said, “people are going to interpret this is a ‘get-out-of-jail-free card’ on all armed robberies where someone isn’t actually shot or killed, because that is exactly what it says.”

No, Bragg screwed up another way: he expected to bask in accolades for his noble progressive intentions.

Instead, even the Rev. Al Sharpton wanted assurance that armed gun robbers would still face felony charges.

Sometimes, the law is an ass. Other times . . .

— Nicole Gelinas in Let’s break down exactly what Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s memo says

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