The Manhattan District Attorney announced on Tuesday that he is ‘absolutely’ considering dropping the charges against a bodega worker who stabbed an ex-convict in apparent self-defense.
Jose Alba, 61, was arrested on July 1 after he fatally stabbed Austin Simon in the neck and chest.
But surveillance footage clearly showed that Simon, 37, had moved behind the desk at the Blue Moon convenience store and pushed him into a stack of shelves before grabbing the elderly man.
It was only then that Alba reached over to a shelf and pulled out a knife to fight back.
He was then apparently stabbed by Simon’s girlfriend, who is not facing charges.
In the weeks since, residents throughout the Big Apple – including even Mayor Eric Adams – condemned Alba’s arrest and have called for him to be let free.
And on Tuesday, the New York Post reports, District Attorney Alvin Bragg told a group of bodega owners that there is ‘absolutely’ a chance he may drop Alba’s murder charges.
Surveillance footage from the Blue Moon convenience store showed Jose Alba, 61, was assaulted before he grabbed a knife and started stabbing Austin Simon, 37, on July 1
The convenience store where the incident occurred
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (pictured) has now said he is ‘absolutely’ considering dropping the murder charges against Alba – but left room to continue prosecuting the case
Jose Alba, 62, the Manhattan bodega worker charged with murder for stabbing a man who assaulted him, is released on bail
‘We felt very good because his tone was very soothing,’ United Bodegas of America spokesman Fernando Mateo said of the group’s closed-door meeting with Bragg at his office.
‘His demeanor was very direct, and he said “I don’t understand why people are jumping to conclusions. I have not made a determination. I am investigating.”
‘I asked, “Do the possibilities exist that you will drop the charges?” And he said, “Absolutely,”‘ Mateo recounted.
Still, Mateo said Bragg left room to continue pressing the case.
‘He explained to us the entire routine of what happens when a crime or a supposed crime is committed and what happens after that,’ Mateo said, adding: ‘We’re very hopeful that Jose Alba’s case will de dismissed, will be dropped by the District Attorney.
‘He has not made that determination yet, but he certainly left the doors and windows open for something like that to happen.
‘So we must sit and wait, not get impatient and not jump to conclusions.’
United Bodegas of America joined the calls for Alba to be released last week
They are seen protesting outside a meeting with Bragg on Tuesday
Pressure had been growing for Bragg to drop the charges against Alba since footage emerged showing that Simon – who has previously been convicted for assaults – had pushed Alba into a shelf and started dragging him.
The footage shows that the two were struggling before Alba grabbed his knife and started stabbing.
Other videos obtained by DailyMail.com show Simon – who was on parole for attacking a police officer when he died – marching behind the bodega counter to confront Alba.
‘Papa, I don’t want a problem, papa,’ Alba told him calmly.
Simon charged into the Blue Moon convenience store minutes after his girlfriend tried to buy a bag of chips for her daughter but her benefits card was declined.
The woman, who claimed Alba snatched the bag of chips from the child, is heard on the video asking Alba, ‘Did you put food?’
The woman was in the store with her daughter trying to buy a bag of chips
Alba responds that he’ll try her card another time.
‘OK, mama, let me do it another time. My God,’ he says to her as she insists, ‘There’s money on there.’
But he scans the card multiple times and hands it back to her telling her it’s not working.
The edited footage cuts to show other customers in the bodega as the woman is heard yelling out of view from the camera.
‘You can’t touch my daughter. Don’t snatch that out of my daughter, you f–king piece of shit!’
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.
It is then that Simon pushes Alba into the shelf.
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 man’s family set up a GoFundMe to help him pay for his legal defense but it was removed overnight after raising $20,000
Video footage reveals the bodega worker Jose Alba was trying to avoid confrontation with Austin Simon in the minutes leading up to the July 1 stabbing
Simon charged into the Blue Moon convenience store minutes after his girlfriend tried to buy a bag of chips for her daughter but her benefits card was declined
Alba holds his arm out as Simon approaches him behind at the counter at the bodega
Following the altercation, Simon was brought to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, while Alba was thrown in the city’s infamous Riker’s Island prison on murder charges.
He was originally being held on a $250,000 bond, but the District Attorney’s Office lowered it last week to $50,000 amid the growing outrage.
Among those who expressed their support for Alba was New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who even visited the Harlem bodega to offer his support.
‘I’m a person that’s there for people following the law. I saw from the video, I saw a voter here inside the store following the law…It’s time for New Yorkers and Americans to start standing up for people who follow the law,’ he said.
Republican Gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin also slammed Bragg’s decision to charge Alba, tweeting: ‘My first Day 1 action as Governor next January will be to fire Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.’