published : 2023-09-30

Ex-bodega clerk sues NYC DA for racial discrimination after murder charges dropped

Alba alleges Manhattan DA's 'racial equity' policies resulted in discrimination

An image of Jose Alba, the ex-bodega clerk, standing outside the convenience store where the incident took place. (Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

Former bodega clerk Jose Alba has filed a lawsuit against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the NYPD, claiming racial discrimination after murder charges against him were dropped.

Alba, who was attacked by Austin Simon and Tina Lee behind the counter on July 1, 2022, filed the lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, alleging that he was wrongfully prosecuted due to Bragg's 'racial equity' policies.

According to the complaint, Bragg and his subordinates charged Alba with second-degree murder and requested high bail at his arraignment, despite Simon and Lee being the initial aggressors.

Alba's attorney, Richard Cardinale, stated that his client is seeking justice, compensatory, and punitive damages against the city.

The city's Law Department has said they will review the case and respond accordingly.

A photograph of the Manhattan District Attorney's office, where Attorney Alvin Bragg works. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

The case gained national attention after Alba was charged with murder for killing Simon in what appeared to be an act of self-defense.

Under pressure from the public, Bragg dropped the murder charge on July 19, 2022.

Alba's lawsuit also names Department of Corrections Commissioner Louis Molina and other DOC officials as defendants, citing unconstitutional conditions of confinement and inadequate medical care at Rikers Island.

Alba's intention to sue the city was delayed while his attorney negotiated a pre-lawsuit settlement, which ultimately fell through.

Cardinale asserts that the case is strong, relying on the defendants' own documents and statements.

A picture of a protest gathering outside Rikers Island, demanding justice for Jose Alba and improvements to the conditions at the prison. (Taken with a Sony Alpha A7 III)

Bragg has faced criticism for his approach as Manhattan's top prosecutor, with some accusing him of taking a soft-on-crime stance.

This lawsuit shines a spotlight on the issues surrounding Bragg's 'racial equity' policies and their potential impact on certain defendants.

Alba's quest for justice and compensation may reshape the conversation around criminal justice reform and racial equality in the Manhattan criminal justice system.