Update: According the to New York Post, video was released showing Jose Alba being stabbed by his attacker’s girlfriend during the incident where Austin Simon was stabbed to death after attacking bodega worker, Jose Alba. According to the report, Austin Simon’s girlfriend has not been charged with a crime.
Daily News Editorial Board
New York Daily News
Mayor Adams is right, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is wrong. Jose Alba’s stabbing of Austin Simon last Friday night was surely not second-degree murder. It likely wasn’t even manslaughter.
Bragg, who came into office demanding that the gears of justice be dramatically recalibrated so as not to chew up people and spit them out — even to the point of urging the downgrading of commercial armed robbery to misdemeanor petty larceny when there was a weapon present but no “genuine risk of physical harm” — erred massively in this overcharge.
The confrontation began after a female shopper, Simon’s girlfriend, began arguing with Alba. Angry about how she and her daughter had been treated, she went down the block and retrieved Simon. As widely available videos make crystal clear, Simon entered the store and came around the counter to confront Alba, an older and smaller man. Even as Alba appeared to want no further confrontation — a witness, the bodega owner, recalls him saying “I don’t want any problems” — Simon shoved him hard and then grabbed him by the shirt and yanked him back, presaging more violence. At this point, Alba, an assault victim trapped in a small space, grabbed a knife he had stashed behind the corner and stabbed Simon at least five times in the chest and neck.
We do not endorse Alba’s response in every way, nor do we take any pleasure in the death of a young man. This was a traumatizing tragedy all around.
But New York Penal Law says “A person may, subject to the provisions of subdivision two, use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself, herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by such other person,” with a host of important exceptions, none of which apply in this case.
Open your eyes to the evidence, Mr. Bragg. Read the law. Drop the charge.