You are reading

Three Queens Councilmembers Demand Bragg to Drop Murder Charge Against Manhattan Bodega Worker

Jose Alba and Austin Simon (Photo via Blue Moon Convenience Store)

July 11, 2022 By Christian Murray

Three elected officials from Queens have signed on to a letter calling on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to drop the murder charge filed against a bodega worker who fatally stabbed a man in what they say was self-defense.

Council Members Bob Holden, Vickie Paladino and Joann Ariola are among the seven councilmembers who have sent Bragg a joint letter calling for the murder charge to be dropped.

“We urge you to drop all charges against Jose Alba, “the letter reads. “The fact that you are even prosecuting Mr. Alba reveals how your perverse sense of justice not only protects violent criminals, but actively seeks to destroy the lives of crime victims”

The letter is in support of Alba, 61, who allegedly stabbed Austin Simon, 35, multiple times in the neck after he was attacked while working at the Blue Moon Convenience Store on Broadway, near 139th Street around 11 p.m. on July 1.

The incident, which is partially caught on tape, shows Simon go behind the counter and then push Alba backwards toward the floor. A struggle ensued and Alba allegedly stabbed Simon to death. He was then charged with second degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Alba was attacked following an argument over a bag of chips. Simon’s girlfriend was looking to buy chips for her child but was unable to pay for them. A dispute then ensued.

“Footage of the attack shows Austin Simon, who has a lengthy criminal record and is currently on parole for assaulting a cop, going behind the bodega counter and attacking Mr. Alba,” the letter reads.

The letter continues: “Despite having no criminal record and video showing Mr. Alba acting in self-defense, you charged him with second-degree murder and asked the court to hold him on $500,000 bail…. This approach to justice makes most New Yorkers think the city is on a self-destructive path to oblivion.”

After public outrage, Alba’s bond was lowered to $50,000 and he was let go after posting the required 10 percent.

The Queens lawmakers—along with councilmembers David Carr (R-Staten Island), Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn), Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn) and Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island)—wrote that the case was “particularly jarring,” arguing that Bragg routinely drops charges and waives bail for violent offenders.

“You failed to request a warrant to confiscate a gun used in an armed robbery by serial offender Tyrell Rodgers,” the letter reads. “He later allegedly used that same gun to kill a man. When Hason Correa, a military veteran and married father of three, was beaten and stabbed to death, you gave one assailant only a year in prison and only seven years to another defendant as part of a plea deal.”

The councilmembers said that Braggs approach to criminal justice is not a policy of restorative justice or deincarceration but instead rewarding the guilty and punishing the innocent.

The lawmakers called for Alba’s immediate release. “Please allow common sense to prevail over ideology and recognize that Mr. Alba acted in self-defense.”

Joint CM Letter to Alvin Bragg Re Jose Alba July 7 2022 by Queens Post on Scribd

email the author: [email protected]

4 Comments

Click for Comments 
Lieutenant Dan

We should be allowed to protect ourselves, our family members, our friends and neighbors from violent people. This gentleman protected himself from a person who hurt him and could’ve killed him, and this my friends is a normal reaction.
In my opinion, based on the news stories that I’ve read, the man was protecting himself against a younger and
much stronger man who was harming him, so it’s self defense.
Our mayor should give him an award
for his act of bravery.

Reply
Anonymous

This person “simply” defended himself by necessary means. NYS justice system became systematically racist. We ordinary people are not allowed to defend ourselves against certain group of aggressors unless we are in the same certain group. Why do we have to have councilmen’s back up to save ourselves legally? What if they don’t back us up against the DA and all? (which they don’t and they wouldn’t)
Why are we obligated to accept our fate as victims and live through trauma over trauma. This is not sustainable.

12
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.