Democratic NYC Councilman Robert Holden testified at House Judiciary Committee about 'lawlessness' of DA Bragg's progressive policies

April 18, 2023
Ben Marquis

The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee held a field hearing in New York City to hear testimony from some of the victims of Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's "soft-on-crime" policies as a far-left progressive prosecutor.

One of the witnesses at that hearing was a lifelong Democrat and member of the New York City Council, Robert Holden, who railed against the "lawlessness" that has overtaken the city under DA Bragg's policies, the Conservative Brief reported.

Councilman holds Bragg responsible

Prior to his appearance at that hearing on Monday, Councilman Holden spoke with Fox News about the "issues" he had with DA Bragg and how his policies have resulted in "lawlessness on the streets" at a level that he's never experienced before.

Holden referenced a memo released by Bragg just days after he took office in 2022 that instructed prosecutors not to pursue prison time or even bring charges on a variety of low- to mid-level crimes. The councilman said, "Under his policy, petty theft, even resisting arrest, prostitution, public urination will not be prosecuted."

He further asserted that the policy was "stupid" and "dumb" and had caused NYPD officers to not "want to engage" with alleged criminals, because "Even if they do engage, they’re going to get district attorneys like Bragg who are going to say, 'We're not prosecuting.'"

Holden went on to issue praise for former Republican New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for his success in reducing high crime rates in the 1990s, and said of his fellow Democrats, "I lived through that. They don’t like to hear it. But I lived through it."

Holden's testimony

In Councilman Holden's prepared testimony, he introduced himself as representing the 30th District in the Queens borough on the city council and noted that he was a member of the council's Public Safety Committee, and said, "I am here to address the lawlessness that has taken over this city in recent years as a result of failed progressive policies implemented by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg."

He made reference to Bragg's memo and how the apparent non-prosecution policy had "reversed" 30 years of anti-crime progress and "has led to a marked increase in criminal activity on the streets of Manhattan."

"Serious offenses such as knifepoint robbery, commercial and residential burglaries, weapons possession, and 'low-level' drug dealing are being charged with lesser offenses or being plea bargained down, resulting in shorter sentences or no jail time at all," Holden continued. "Bragg's first year in office was marked by a dramatic shift in the way his office approached criminal prosecutions. We are all feeling Bragg's soft-on-crime approach on the streets of New York."

He went on to lament that "repeat offenders" were receiving "lenient sentences" and were then immediately committing "multiple crimes" as soon as they were released, and said that "it seems Alvin Bragg's top priority was to keep criminals out of jail and free to roam the streets. District Attorney Bragg would be better off as a defense attorney than a prosecutor."

Holden also cited various current statistics on crime and prosecutions compared to 2019, prior to the pandemic upending everything, and highlighted the embarrassingly low conviction rates -- 51 percent for felonies and just 29 percent for misdemeanors -- when prosecutions were even pursued at all.

First time for a focus on the victims of crime

Following his testimony before the House committee, Councilman Holden spoke to Newsmax and said, "I've lived through the bad old days of New York City, and I don't want to go back there. We're headed in that direction. We're headed to a decreased quality of life."

The councilman noted that despite numerous hearings held by the Council's Public Safety Committee over the past five years, none of them had ever focused on the victims of crime like the House committee's hearing. "We always have hearings on criminals and their rights," he explained. "You never hear from the victims, and this is the first time. I agreed to go to this congressional hearing because I wanted to say things about victims and what's happening to our city."

In addition to the Democratic councilman, other witnesses who testified at the hearing on Monday included a bodega clerk charged with murder for defending himself against an armed robber, the mother of a homicide victim, the father of a hate crime victim, a police union official, a victims' rights advocate, and other anti-violence activists.

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