A conflict quickly erupts between the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner
At the same time, such disputes are not uncommon. There is a deep-rooted tension between police and prosecutors that often focuses on what charges to lay and, sometimes, whether there is sufficient evidence to make an arrest. For police, to some extent, the job ends in handcuffs, while prosecutors must prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt or find another solution. But such arguments did not often become public, let alone so early in a new administration.
Mr Adams praised Mr Bragg when asked about him in recent interviews, calling him a “top prosecutor” and refusing to criticize the memo. The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A police spokesperson said the memo “spoke for itself”.
Mr. Bragg and Mr. Adams, both Democrats, have significant law enforcement backgrounds, and both have promised some reform. Mr Bragg, a former federal prosecutor, stood out in a competitive primary promising to balance security and justice. Mr Adams, a former police captain, spoke out against police brutality and, while serving, lobbied for changes within the department.
Mr. Bragg is the first black person to head the district attorney’s office, Mr. Adams is the second black mayor in city history, and Commissioner Sewell is the first woman and third black person to head the district attorney’s office. police.
In his memo, Mr Bragg called on his prosecutors to ask judges for jail or jail terms only for those who had committed serious offenses, including murder, sexual assault and major economic crimes, unless the law does not require it. Others, he said, would be referred to programs better equipped to deal with the problems that led them to commit the crimes.
The new district attorney also asked his prosecutors not to indict a number of misdemeanors. Many of the crimes on his list were already not prosecuted by his predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr. But Mr Bragg ordered his staff to avoid charging several offenses that had already been charged, including the Resistance. upon arrest.