Watch CBS News

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg Issues New Guidance On Prosecutions, Particularly Involving Guns

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg did a stunning 180-degree turn on public safety Friday, vowing to go after people with guns even if they are inoperable, and instructing prosecutors to have zero tolerance for violence against cops.

CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer says Bragg told his staff that an earlier memo perceived as promulgating a soft-on-crime policy was "a source of confusion."

Was it attending the funeral of hero cop Jason Rivera where his widow called him out?

"We are not safe anymore," Dominique Luzuriaga said. "I know you were tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new DA. I hope he's watching."

Or was it being read the riot act by Gov. Kathy Hochul?

"We need to do more to protect public safety," Hochul said.

Whatever the reason, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has backed off his earlier "Day One" memo that provoked demands for his ouster. Seems instead of being the softer, gentler prosecutor he campaigned on, he apparently now wants to be the new "sheriff of Manhattan."

Web Extra: Read Bragg's New Memo (.pdf)

His tough on crime stance in a new memo tells his staff:

  • Violence against police officers will not be tolerated
  • Gun possession cases are a key part of our plan for public safety
  • People walking the streets with guns will be prosecuted and held accountable
  • A commercial robbery with a gun will be charged as a felony, whether or not the gun is operable, loaded, or a realistic imitation
  • We also will use gun possession cases as an opportunity to trace the source of illegal guns and build cases against gun traffickers

His earlier memo told staffers to only to seek jail for the most serious offenses and to seek alternatives to incarceration for first time offenses, and people charged with certain robberies and assaults. Even gun possession and resisting arrest in cases where no other crimes were involved.

"We will be safe in this city," said Mayor Eric Adams.

Bragg's actions coming as Adams made the rounds of TV and radio shows to talk about President Joe Biden's trip to the city and his own blueprint for public safety.

On WNYC, Adams offered more details on his plan for spot checks for guns coming into the city at train and bus stations and bridges.

"I know when I travel abroad, and even in the subway system... people do spot checks, random spot checks to determine is carrying an explosive device. If we're doing it for a bomb, then we should be doing it for bullets and guns," Adams said.

The mayor says the spot checks are a message to people along the iron pipeline that New York City is not an open door for illegal guns.

The mayor said he was pleased the president agreed to have federal agencies like the FBI and the ATF help the NYPD stop illegal gun trafficking.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.