A Democratic New York City councilman is taking a stand against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, accusing him of contributing to the city’s increasing crime rates and chaos on the streets. Councilman Robert Holden plans to testify at a House Judiciary Committee field hearing, arguing that Bragg’s soft-on-crime policies have led to a dangerous environment for New York City residents.
Holden, a Democrat, and lifelong New Yorker has represented the 30th district since 2018. He argues that crime rates in the city have risen “because of Bragg,” who issued an edict not to prosecute smaller crimes upon taking office. This policy, according to Holden, has resulted in lawlessness in the streets.
Bragg took over for another far-left DA, Cyrus Vance Jr., in 2022. The hearing, which aims to “examine how Bragg’s pro-crime, anti-victim policies have led to an increase in violent crime,” is scheduled for Monday at the Javits Federal Building.
Holden cites Bragg’s “day one memo” as a key cause for concern, as it instructed prosecutors not to pursue jail terms for various offenses and to reduce charges, such as those related to robberies and commercial burglaries. Furthermore, Bragg announced that his office would no longer prosecute several crimes, including particular instances of trespassing, resisting arrest, and fare evasion.
Holden views Bragg’s policy as reckless, stating, “This is a DA saying to that to the public. It is just stupid. It’s just dumb.” Moreover, he believes that members of his own party are partly responsible for rising crime rates and repeat criminal behavior.
According to Holden, New York has experienced a “bad combination” of factors that have contributed to crime, including the 2019 bail reform law. This law, in combination with Bragg’s policies, has led NYPD officers to become disengaged, as even if they engage with suspects, they know that district attorneys like Bragg will not prosecute.
Holden credits former Republican mayor Rudy Giuliani for saving New York during his tenure and laments the current state of the Democratic party in the city. He identifies himself as one of only two moderate Democrats on the NYC council, with the remaining members being “socialists.”
Although he has been encouraged to change party affiliations, Holden remains committed to providing a voice of reason within the Democratic caucus, stating, “Most of the Democrats in New York City do not agree with their elected officials.”
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Holden’s commitment to his constituents and neighborhoods drives his actions, as he seeks to improve public safety and restore order in New York City. Committee Chairman Jim Jordan has invited other witnesses to testify alongside Holden, including Paul DiGiacomo, head of the Detectives’ Endowment Association in New York City, and Joseph Borgen, a Jewish man who suffered severe injuries after being attacked by a group during a pro-Israel rally.
As a Democratic lawmaker, Holden’s willingness to challenge Bragg’s approach provides a powerful message about the need for bipartisan cooperation to ensure public safety and restore order in New York City.