What a terrifying world we live in when a district attorney has to reassure the public that he will enforce the law.
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg just made some genuine concessions from his lunatic “Day One” memo. But not enough.
The district attorney now wants robbers who use knives or guns (including “a realistic imitation”) to get charged with a felony. Indeed, anyone caught with a gun: “The default in gun cases is a felony prosecution.” That’s a clear addition to the short list of crimes he’d previously said should bring felony charges.
This follows his announcement that, yes, darn it, he’ll go hard on perps who attack cops, and so does away with the new policies that brought the most furious criticism. But these were more concessions to reality than to his critics: Not taking gun crime seriously was insane.
And it follows repeated insistence that the Day One memo remained “operative.” More, these exceptions will still see a lot of perps seriously undercharged.
On the other hand, he also told his prosecutors, “You were hired for your keen judgment, and I want you to use that judgment — and experience — in every case.” We’re keen to see what happens when one of those prosecutors tests that rule.
Bragg keeps claiming the original memo was “misunderstood.” If that were so, it couldn’t possibly have taken him so long to clear up these central issues. Heck, the memo was essentially a draft he circulated long ago, during his campaign. He had plenty of time to make it say exactly what he wanted before issuing it.
Yes, Manhattan merchants can breathe a sigh of relief that the DA has ended his declaration of open season on them. But the fact remains that this chief prosecutor fundamentally doesn’t believe in locking people up, and has to be browbeaten into getting serious about blatant threats to public safety.
Taking back his most idiotic orders is an improvement, but he still has a long, long way to go.