Bodega Group In NYC Wants A Stand Your Ground Law
Bodega Group In NYC Wants A Stand Your Ground Law
This story is infuriating beyond words for those of us who actually care about self-defense and justice.
On July 1st, bodega employee Jose Alba refused to allow a customer to just take what she wanted after her EBT debit card was declined. The woman then went and got her boyfriend, Austin Simon, who was caught on video assaulting Alba. Alba then used a boxcutter to stab Simon, and these injuries ended up killing Simon. Jose Alba, who has no criminal history, has now been charged with murder.
According to the New York Post, Austin Simon had quite the criminal history.
Simon, meanwhile, was already on parole for assaulting a cop at the time of the deadly encounter — and has at least eight prior busts, including for assault, robbery, and assault during a domestic dispute, sources and records show.”
State corrections records show he has served prison time on a second-degree assault conviction for attacking the cop before he was paroled last year.”
And additional video shows that Alba tried to defuse the situation, but that the girlfriend helped escalate the entire confrontation (and allegedly stabbed Alba herself, according to his family).
The woman had reported that Alba snatched the bag of chips from her daughter’s hands when they couldn’t pay.”
She continues, ‘I’m gonna bring my n– down here and he gonna f–k you up. My n— is gonna come down here right now and f–k you up!'”
Alba tells her that it’s not his fault and that the card was not working.”
Another woman asked, ‘Did they take something from you?'”
Alba replied, ‘No, I take it back.'”
Simon can then be seen on the video storming into the store and walking behind the counter where he confronts Alba.”
‘What’s up with you? N—r what is wrong with you?’ he yells at him.”
The video is edited and cuts to Simon already having been stabbed.”
In previous footage that was released, the fight between the two men breaks out when Simon goes behind the counter and is seen pushing Alba into a chair.”
Alba grabbed the store’s box cutting knife to stab him in the neck and chest. Simon later died in the hospital.”
In the new video footage, it cuts to show bloody Simon splayed out on the bodega floor. His girlfriend is heard yelling, ‘That was over $3. Three f–king dollars. He snatched something out of my daughter…please help him.'”
The District Attorney in New York City is Alvin Bragg, who is one of those “progressive” DAs in the mold of Chesa Boudin or George Gascon. Bragg came into office promising to not enforce certain laws, which isn’t particularly helpful when New York City is experiencing a spike in crime. Even Governor Kathy Hochul, who initially wanted an explanation from Bragg, then backed off and asked that Bragg be allowed to have some time to settle into his new job.
Apparently, settling into the job means taking this fairly obvious case of a 61 year old Dominican man defending himself from an assault from a 35 year old black man, and turning it into a second-degree murder charge with $250,000 bail – and the DA’s office initially wanted $500,000! A judge finally reduced the amount to $50,000 last Thursday, which meant that Alba was able to put together the money to post bond. He was released with an ankle monitor after surrendering his passport.
Prosecutors put off presenting the case to a grand jury until July 20, but wouldn’t say if the murder charge was still on the table.”
“I would be stunned if this case proceeds as a murder-two case or if this guy was convicted,” said attorney Mark Bederow, a former Manhattan prosecutor.”
“I don’t think a grand jury would indict him for murder in the second degree, and I don’t think a jury would convict him beyond a reasonable doubt given what the justification statute states,” he added, referring to a self-defense claim.”
And now other bodega workers in New York City are asking for the right to defend themselves to be codified into law.
United Bodegas of America — which has rallied behind Jose Alba, the 61-year-old shop employee facing a slay rap after fending off a violent ex-con — said Sunday that the measure is needed to protect others who toil behind the counter.”
“Bottom line — in Florida, this is what you would consider stand your ground,” UBA spokesman Fernando Mateo said at a press conference, referring to Alba’s case.”
“That’s what New York City needs,” Mateo said of the law.”
Florida allows people to use deadly force if they believe they are threatened by “great bodily harm.” New York does not have a “Stand Your Ground” statute but does allow for self-defense claims when protecting one’s home.”
Mateo said a more expansive statute in New York, similar to Florida’s, would have provided Alba with legal grounds for stabbing and mortally wounding 35-year-old Austin Simon when he stormed behind the counter July 1 and accosted Alba.”
The United Bodegas of America is also calling on Bragg to drop all the charges, and plans on meeting with the DA on Tuesday.
Like I said, this case is infuriating. How DA Bragg thought that charging Alba with second-degree murder was appropriate only makes sense if you live in Bragg’s social justice paradigm. This means that Austin Simon, as a dead black man, is automatically the victim in this case, instead of being the instigator. And how the girlfriend is walking away without any charges at all, if she did indeed stab Alba, is also an open question. Somehow, Bragg must think that he’s going to make an example out of Alba, but for what reason? To show how “tough” he can be? How is justice served by Alba being charged with second-degree murder? Even Mayor Eric Adams has said that Alba was defending himself, even though he chickened out on standing up to DA Bragg on the charges.
Jose Alba’s life will never be the same, all because he had the temerity to not allow himself to be beaten up. Even if the charges are dropped, the owner of the bodega he was working at says he will have to be moved to a different store, in order to not be a target for Austin Simon’s “friends.” A GoFundMe was suspended because he is charged with a violent crime. Alba will be financially wrecked for the forseeable future, all because Alvin Bragg decided that he didn’t have a right to protect himself. No wonder the United Bodegas of America want a “stand your ground” law. If New York laws won’t protect them by keeping criminals locked up, then they want to protect themselves. And they should be able to do so.