Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday stood up for the “hard-working” Manhattan bodega clerk languishing on Rikers Island on $250,000 bail after he fatally stabbed a violent ex-con whereas making an attempt to fend off an assault.
“My coronary heart goes out for this hard-working, trustworthy New Yorker that was doing his job in his workplace, the place an individual got here in and went behind the counter and attacked him,” Adams mentioned about 51-year-old Jose Alba.
Prosecutors with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s workplace charged the dad of three with second-degree homicide within the deadly stabbing of Austin Simon, 34, on the Hamilton Heights nook retailer Friday.
Alba’s household insists he was performing in self-defense when he grabbed a knife to combat off Simon contained in the Hamilton Heights Grocery. Surveillance footage confirmed Simon storming behind the counter, the place he menaced and assaulted the worker.
Alba, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic 30 years in the past, is now locked up at Rikers Island as a result of he was unable to submit the whopping $250,000 bail — half of the quantity Bragg’s workplace had requested at his arraignment Saturday.
During an unrelated press convention, Adams expressed sympathy with the “trustworthy” Alba, however declined to criticize the choice by Bragg’s prosecutors.
“My coronary heart goes out to the worker who was within the retailer doing his job,” he mentioned in response to a query from a Post reporter. “I’m hoping that we take all of that into consideration, as his hard-working New Yorker was doing his job, and somebody aggressively went behind the counter to assault him.”
Adams confused that he’s not allowed to provide instructions to native prosecutors, and kept away from explicitly weighing in on the costs Alba was slapped with and quantity of bail set. The mayor, nonetheless, does oversee the NYPD, which additionally charged the clerk with homicide.
“The DA has a non-mandate, the place we can’t dictate or mandate how he determines how he’s going to prosecute crimes,” mentioned Adams, a retired NYPD captain. “That is as much as the district legal professional, and I’m not going to second-guess the district legal professional for his actions.”
“The DA has his job, I’ve my job because the mayor of town of New York, because the mayor of town of New York, I assist hard-working, harmless individuals which are doing their job, and I noticed him as a hard-working harmless New Yorker that an individual went behind the counter and attacked.”
Bragg has confronted backlash over Alba’s case after his workplace introduced the costs — after which pushed for $500,000 bail.
Relatives instantly launched a GoFundMe web page to assist elevate funds to cowl Alba’s sky-high bail and authorized charges after he was hit with a second-degree homicide cost — however the web page was mysteriously removed Wednesday night time.
Fernando Mateo — a spokesman for the United Bodega Association — informed The Post Alba “didn’t imply to kill anybody” as he lamented the plight of New Yorkers who work at nook shops.
“Bodega homeowners are being attacked on daily basis. They are being abused and ransacked by shoplifters,” Mateo mentioned Thursday.
Alba’s daughter, Yulissa, doubled down on the self-defense argument, telling The Post Wednesday: “It was both him or the man in the intervening time.”
She added, “He’s by no means harm anyone. He’s by no means had an altercation the place he needed to defend himself. This is the primary time for him.”
The worker was captured within the surprising video tending to clients whereas behind the counter on the Hamilton Heights Grocery retailer on Broadway, the place he was out of the blue confronted by the a lot youthful former offender.
Simon — who was on parole and had no less than eight prior busts, together with for assault, based on sources and information — then shoved him right into a shelf, the video reveals. After a number of moments, Alba reached to the realm the place sweet is stocked, pulled out a knife and plunged it into Simon’s neck and chest.
“There is not any clearer instance of self-defense,” mentioned former prosecutor and legal protection legal professional Michael Discioarro.
“He’s at work, minding his personal enterprise and he’s attacked,” Discioarro added. “He is the sufferer, and he’s sitting in Rikers.”
The lethal confrontation Friday night time got here after an argument Alba had with Simon’s girlfriend, whose EBT debit card was declined on the retailer, the place she tried to make use of it to buy potato chips for her 10-year-old daughter, police and regulation enforcement sources beforehand informed The Post.
The 32-year-old lady mentioned Alba snatched the snack out of her daughter’s hand, so she knocked over gadgets on the counter and hurried residence to get Simon, who stormed into the bodega and attacked Alba roughly 10 minutes later.
During the combat, Simon’s girlfriend allegedly stabbed the Dominican-born immigrant within the shoulder with a knife she saved in her purse, based on Alba’s protection legal professional, however she shouldn’t be dealing with costs.
In an announcement Wednesday, a spokesman for Bragg mentioned “we’re persevering with to assessment the proof and the investigation is ongoing.”