On Friday, New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant Sewell send an email to police which mentioned her “concern” for their safety after the new District Attorney (DA) announced new polices on Monday that are perceived to be soft on crime, by some.
The email that was obtained by the New York Post said that the first female black commissioner of the largest police department in the nation said that she had concerns about “the implications to your safety as police officers, the safety of the public and justice for the victims.”
Sewell also said that she was making her concerns known to the Manhattan District Attorney. She said that she hoped to have “frank and productive discussions” with him so they could reach common ground.
On Monday, recently appointed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has issued his first memo. It asked his staff to stop prosecuting low level offences. It also instructed them to ask for reduced charges for specific crimes. It also told them not to ask for bail, except in cases of serious crime. Many felony charges have been downgraded to misdemeanours
Sewell has taken a different stance from Mayor Eric Adams. She wants to be tough on crime and to ensure the safety of her officers while bringing about reform from within. She said that she would speak with the Manhattan District Attorney “to seek a better balance between officer safety, public safety and reform.”
Mayor Eric Adams, who made being tough on crime the major plank of his mayoral campaign, told reporters on Wednesday, “I know DA Bragg, I respect him, he’s a great prosecutor.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alan Bragg has introduced new policies for his staff to follow. Some public defenders such as the Legal Aid Society have welcomed the changes brought about by the new DA but police union leaders believe that it would increase crime.
The New York Post asked the DA’s office for comment but received no response till late Friday night.