NEW YORK - Drop the murder charge. That was the request representatives from the United Bodegas of America made when they meet with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Tuesday.
Bragg’s office charged Jose Alba with second-degree murder after he fatally stabbed Austin Simon inside the bodega in Hamilton Heights where Alba was working on July 1.
Surveillance video shows Simon came behind the counter and assaulted Alba after the worker refused to hand over a bag of chips that Simon’s girlfriend tried to buy with an EBT card that was declined.
The criminal complaint says Simon’s girlfriend stabbed Alba in the melee.
She hasn’t been charged.
Alba broke his silence Monday as he waits to learn if the charge against him will be dropped.
"Please forgive me," he told the New York Post in responding to a question about the message he wants to send to Simon’s family.
Spokesman Douglas Cohen issued the following statement regarding the meeting with the bodega owners union:
"Since taking office, D.A. Bragg has met with numerous business owners, community leaders, and other stakeholders about public safety. Today’s conversation centered on how to keep bodega owners and workers safe, including in a post-Bruen world when more people may legally obtain and carry firearms. D.A. Bragg expressed support for New York’s strong gun laws, and emphasized that more guns in our communities make us less safe. We welcomed the opportunity to discuss how we can work together to promote safety on our streets and in our workplaces, and look forward to continuing these conversations."