Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg delayed ‘no-knock’ warrant for dangerous ex-con: sources

The NYPD was forced to pump the brakes on the arrest of a dangerous ex-con wanted in a Harlem stick-up — the same week that two police officers were killed — after the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office initially balked at cops’ request for a “no-knock” warrant, multiple law enforcement sources told The Post.

Detectives were looking to nab Jaime Brown, who allegedly held up a bodega on Lenox Avenue with two handguns on Dec. 5 — whipping out one of the pistols when he decided the store clerk was taking too long to fork over the cash, according to the sources.

A senior law enforcement source familiar with Brown’s arrest said this was a “textbook case for a no-knock warrant” because of the suspect’s violent past — notably that he was convicted in a 2018 shooting when he threatened to kill a cop.

But DA Alvin Bragg’s office punted on the Jan. 24 request, saying they didn’t believe they had a case for a “no-knock” warrant, and claiming a judge would never sign off on it — angering cops who said a “knock” warrant would have put their lives in danger.

DA Alvin Bragg declined to grant the “no-knock” warrant the same week two officers were killed in the line of duty.Paul Martinka

The DA’s initial unwillingness to issue the “no-knock” warrant caused outrage among Manhattan detectives — especially as the request was made just a day after Officers Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera were fatally shot while responding to a domestic disturbance in a Harlem apartment.

The issue made it all the way up the chain of command to Chief of Detectives James Essig, costing investigators valuable time, though it’s unclear what specific involvement the chief may have had, the sources said.

“In my 39 years in the department, I’ve never heard of the chief of detectives getting involved in a simple warrant matter like this,” said Paul Digiacomo, president of the Detectives Endowment Association.

The issue of the “no-knock” warrant made its way all the way up to NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig, which a source says is highly unusual.
William Farrington

A “no-knock” warrant for Brown was finally issued Jan. 27, allowing cops to arrest him inside his third-floor Harlem apartment — a few blocks from the scene of Mora and Rivera’s killings — where they recovered a loaded 9mm handgun with an extended 30-round magazine, similar to the one Lashawn McNeil used to shoot the fallen officers less than a week earlier.

Another senior law enforcement source with knowledge of the case said Brown was found “directly on the other side of the door, on his bed with that gun.”

“Had that been a knock warrant, he would have had time to decide what he wanted to do,” the source said. “Could he have fired out that door? This warrant had substance –the textbook of no-knock warrants.

Cops were outraged by DA Alvin Bragg’s decision, saying that denying a “no-knock” warrant put their lives in danger. The suspect, Jaime Brown, had previously threatened to kill a cop.Robert Miller

Brown was charged with robbery in the first degree and criminal possession of a loaded firearm. He was being held on $100,000 bail.

At the time of his arrest, Brown was on parole for the 2018 Brooklyn shooting in which he shot himself through his pocket when an officer tried to take him into custody after he refused to show his hands.

“F–k you, you fat f–k. I was going to shoot you,” he told officers at the time.

Brown was arrested and slapped with multiple counts of criminal possession of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon and attempted murder of a police officer. He was sent to state prison in April 2019 and released on parole July 27, 2020.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg granted the “no-knock” warrant on January 27. His office says they were unaware of Brown’s violent past. Law enforcement sources say that is impossible.Kevin C. Downs

The DA’s office said that at the time the warrant in the Dec. 5 robbery was drafted, prosecutors were “not made aware of the facts of the defendant’s previous Brooklyn case, including his threats to police officers.”

“As soon as we were informed of the full circumstances of the case, we asked the judge to re-issue the Manhattan warrant with a ‘no-knock’ provision, and the request was granted,” a DA spokeswoman said. “Ensuring the safety of the brave officers at the NYPD is a top priority for our office.”

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