Bragg is Manhattan’s first African-American district attorney, and during the campaign he said his policies had been based on his own experience of being threatened by police and civilians alike. He began his memorandum by telling that story.
“Growing up in Harlem in the 1980s, I saw all aspects of the criminal justice system from a young age,” he wrote. “Before I was 21, a gun was pointed at me six times: three times by police officers and three times by people who were not police officers. He had a knife to his neck, a semiautomatic pistol to his head, and a murder victim on my doorstep. “
Some former prosecutors called for caution when Mr. Bragg begins his term.
“Progressive criminal justice reform has to find a balance,” said Karen Friedman Agnifilo, Mr. Vance’s former MP. “Old-school law enforcement went too far in one direction, but the lessons we are learning in some big cities suggest that others may have gone too far in the other direction.”
“I’m sure Alvin can find that balance,” she said.
In the Democratic primary for district attorney, Mr. Bragg, a former federal prosecutor, represented an ideological middle ground. His competitors included three attorneys with no tax experience, two of whom pledged to cut the office’s budget in half if elected. Some of his rivals who had prosecution experience suggested they would make fewer sweeping changes to the office than Bragg promised.
In an interview, Mr. Krasner, the Philadelphia district attorney who was re-elected for a second term in November, said that Mr. the police, the media, and even elements of the Democratic Party.
“There will always be some confusion and resistance to change even among people who operate in good faith,” Krasner said.
Many of Bragg’s colleagues in other cities have faced harsh criticism from victims’ rights groups, traditional law enforcement authorities and others in their communities as they seek to change the justice system from within. It remains to be seen if Bragg will receive a similar salute in his first few months on the job.