The stabbing death of a man in a Harlem bodega that’s getting national media attention may not end up as a murder case at all, at least according to a group supporting the man charged in the incident.
The United Bodegas of America, a trade group, met with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. about the case yesterday and they claim that Bragg says he “absolutely” is considering dropping murder charges against Jose Alba, the New York Post reports.
Bragg has been barraged from all sides, including by Mayor Eric Adams, for charging Alba with the rap even though surveillance video clearly shows the Manhattan worker being attacked by an ex-con, whom the clerk ended up stabbing in alleged self-defense.
The United Bodegas of America’s closed-door sit-down with Bragg at his Manhattan office was “very, very good,” with the DA telling the group that Alba, 61, could see charges against him dropped, said Fernando Mateo, the group’s rep, after the huddle.
“We felt very good because his tone was very soothing. His demeanor was very direct, and he said, ‘I don’t understand why people are jumping to conclusions. I have not made a determination. I am investigating,’” Mateo recalled Bragg saying when asked about Alba’s case.
“I asked, ‘Do the possibilities exist that you will drop these charges?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Alba stabbed 34-year-old Austin Simon to death on July 1 at the Blue Moon bodega in Harlem. The store’s security cameras recorded the incident which started with an altercation between Simon’s girlfriend and Alba, after which Simon enters the store and attack’s Alba before he is stabbed. Alba was also stabbed by Simon’s companion in the incident.
Bragg’s office has charged Alba with murder and he was initially locked up in New York’s notorious Riker’s Island jail until earlier this week after his bail was reduced.
The bodega group is the same one that this week advocated for a Stand Your Ground law in New York, which I wrote yesterday is an absolutely terrible idea that probably wouldn’t gain much traction in either New York’s state legislature or New York City Council anyway.