Manhattan DA gives many misdemeanors a pass even as new mayor vows to combat growing crime

Ex-police captain Eric Adams battles New York City crime

Manhattan Institute director of policing and public safety Hannah Meyers discusses rising crime rates on ‘America’s Newsroom.’

Manhattan’s newly sworn-in district attorney reportedly told his staff he does not intend to prosecute several crimes, including resisting arrest. At the same time New York City’s newly sworn-in mayor is pledging to crack down on surging crime.

Alvin Bragg, a former federal prosecutor sworn in as Manhattan District Attorney on Jan. 1, sent guidance to his office calling for the “decriminalization/non prosecution” for crimes including marijuana possession, turnstile jumping, trespassing, resisting arrest, interfering with an arrest and prostitution. 

Alvin Bragg
((AP Photo/Craig Ruttle))

Additionally, the guidance says the DA’s office will “not seek carceral sentence other than for homicide” or “class B violent felony in which a deadly weapon causes serious injury, domestic violence felonies” with some exceptions in “extraordinary circumstances.”

The memo argues that “reserving incarceration for matters involving significant harm will make us safer.”

Bragg’s office also says it will request a maximum of 20 years in prison for all crimes that don’t have a life-in-prison option and will never seek life without parole in any case regardless of how heinous.

Pretrial detention, according to Bragg’s office, will only be recommended in “very serious cases.”

“The data show that the overwhelming majority of those released pretrial do not commit a violent crime while at liberty,” the memo says. “Two studies show that even three days in jail can lead to a loss of housing, employment and strain family connections and increase the likelihood failure to appear in court.”

Bragg’s position on bail is in line with progressive district attorneys across the country, including in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Austin, where bail and sentencing guidelines have been lowered in the name of “reform.”

Mayor-elect Eric Adams
(Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The New York Police Benevolent Association released a statement on social media shortly after the memo was released expressing serious concern about the plan.

“We continue to have serious concerns about the message these types of policies send to both police officers and criminals on the street,” PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said. “Police officers don’t want to be sent out to enforce laws that the district attorneys won’t prosecute. And there are already too many people who believe that they can commit crimes, resist arrest, interfere with police officers and face zero consequences.”

Lynch added that he looks forward to “discussing these issues” with Bragg.

Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat and retired police officer who was sworn in on New Year’s Eve, campaigned on a platform of addressing the crime problem and bail reform issues that have outraged many residents and said during a press conference Tuesday he has not seen Bragg’s memo.

“I have not communicated with the DA,” Adams said. “I have not looked over and analyzed exactly what he’s calling for.”

Over the summer, then-candidate Adams claimed that Bragg’s position on addressing crime is “no different than mine,” but the mayor has also spoken out against New York City’s lax bail laws and pledged as recently as this week that criminals will “not bring violence to this city.”

The mayor’s office and district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

NYPD data show that crime increased in almost every major category in 2021, hitting levels that have not been seen in the city in five years. The number of murders, robberies, felony assaults, burglaries, grand larcenies and grand larceny auto thefts topped 100,000 for the first time since 2016.

Eric Adams holds up a framed photo of his mother at his swearing-in as New York mayor, at the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration early Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Ben Hider/Invision/AP)

Nearly 100,000 accused criminals in New York City have been released back onto the streets due to the controversial 2019 bail reform law, and 3,400 of them, about 4%, were rearrested for a violent felony while awaiting trial.

Adams said on the campaign trail in November that the bail reform law has created a “public safety issue.”

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