The New York District Attorney’s Office dropped the charge of second-degree murder against Dominican bodega clerk José Alba, who shot and killed a man who was assaulting him and whose indictment raised a wave of protests from small bodega store owners in the city.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office filed a motion to drop the charges against Alba, 61, who is on probation.
According to the document, the investigation has shown that it cannot be demonstrated that “the use of lethal physical force was not justified.”
On July 13, representatives of several associations of bodega clerks, small supermarkets, and restaurants rallied on the steps of New York City Hall to demand the dismissal of the indictment, considering that Alba’s actions had been in self-defense.
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Among the organizers was Francisco Marte, the Bodegas’ clerk association president. On July 11 met with Manhattan U.S. Attorney Alvin Bragg to ask him not to go forward with the prosecution.
“We are grateful for the support of the community, especially the working class because the politicians gave us little support,” Marte assured EFE news agency today.
Marte, who received confirmation from the Prosecutor’s Office of the withdrawal of the charges, assured EFE that this decision means “peace of mind” for bodega clerks.
“It means that justice has been done in the case, that it has been in self-defense, because we have the right to defend ourselves if we are attacked, and more so if we are in our workplace,” Marte added.
He also pointed out that Alba was pleased after hearing the news, and he said that now “his battle is going to be to recover from this trauma.”
The events occurred on July 1, in the Harlem neighborhood, when the attacker Austin Simon assaulted Alba after the clerk argued with Simon’s partner because her digital ration card with which she wanted to buy a bag of potato chips was not accepted by the card reader.
At one point during the scuffle, the attacker assaulted Alba, and Alba was forced to defend himself using a knife.