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Latino organization calls out New York Democrats’ relative silence on imprisoned bodega worker

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The president of one of the largest Latino advocacy organizations in the United States called out New York State Democrats for what he said was silence in the face of an unfair prosecution of a New York bodega employee who killed an assailant in self-defense.

Latin State National Association of Chambers of Commerce President Frank Garcia spoke to Fox News about the plight of Jose Alba, a sixty-something Hamilton Heights bodega employee who retaliated against assailant Austin Simon , killing him.

Garcia joined the chorus of criticism for New York County Democratic District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is currently prosecuting Alba for murder while being accused of being soft on career criminals amid Manhattan’s crime wave.

Garcia said he appreciated Mayor Eric Adams allowing him to meet with Bragg, but suggested that’s where the assistance from Democratic lawmakers stopped. He stressed that he didn’t want to make the situation a political issue, but added that Republicans are generally the ones supporting him and the Latino community right now.

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Photographic illustration by Hochul and Bragg.
(Reuters and Associated Press)

He accused New York Governor Kathleen Hochul of remaining silent on the matter, adding that he had tried to text new Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado – a former U.S. congressman from upstate – but received no response.

“We feel the politicians aren’t listening. And I’m very grateful to the city council; the Republican members of the city council are the ones who supported us, it’s not even a Hispanic,” he said, adding former City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., D-Bronx, was one of the few from that party to offer help. Diaz has been a longtime fixture in the city’s civics.

Another lawmaker, Councilwoman Vickie Paladino, R-Queens, has come out publicly and called on Bragg to “drop the fucking charges” while demanding that Hochul use his gubernatorial power to remove him from office.

“This man is hanging out to dry,” Paladino, one of only 5 Republicans in the 51-member body, said in remarks captured by Fox News.

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A photo of Alvine Bragg embedded in a screenshot of surveillance video obtained by the New York Post showing Jose Alba's deadly confrontation with former inmate Austin Simon.

A photo of Alvine Bragg embedded in a screenshot of surveillance video obtained by the New York Post showing Jose Alba’s deadly confrontation with former inmate Austin Simon.
(Barry Williams via Getty/NYPost Video)

Garcia then reported information about Simon’s unnamed girlfriend, who allegedly stabbed Alba during the melee near W. 140 Street.

The girlfriend tried to buy a bag of crisps but her food stamp card was declined, leading Alba to cancel the purchase, according to the UK Daily Mail. The enraged woman reportedly ran away from the store, soon after Simon appeared and the incident happened.

“The woman who stabbed Jose Alba is still free and it’s not fair that Jose is under house arrest. He had an injury, they didn’t take him to the hospital. It’s just human decency The criminal can get medical help and our tax-paying members can’t do that? That’s unacceptable,” Garcia said.

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He then commented on Bragg’s accusations of laxity with career criminals while pitching the book to Alba:

“On the other hand, you see people stabbing people on the subway, running free after being taken into custody for 24 hours, then unleashed on the streets of New York as part of a justice reform criminal,” he said.

“[This] has people saying, ‘you know what – what’s going on?’.”