NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There were demands Monday to remove Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg from office.

It’s part of continuing backlash over Bragg’s decision to order prosecutors to avoid seeking jail for all but the most serious crimes, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

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“It may be new to him, but DA doesn’t stand for ‘defense attorney.’ It stands for district attorney. If Alvin Bragg wants to keep people out of prison, he should go be a defense attorney,” said U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican candidate for governor.

Zeldin joined other officials in demanding Gov. Kathy Hochul remove Bragg from office after he sent a memo to his staff telling them to seek jail only for serious offenses.

Bragg wants alternatives to incarceration for first-time offenders and people charged with certain robberies and assaults, even gun possession and resisting arrest in cases where no other crimes are involved.

“Alvin Bragg’s get out of jail free card,” Zeldin said.

“This man ran a campaign to put fewer people who deserve to be behind bars in jail,” said City Councilmember Joe Borelli.

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Curtis Sliwa and Andrew Giuliani, another Republican gubernatorial candidate, stood outside Hochul’s office to call for Bragg’s removal.

“If we end up having more crime that is specifically related to any of these repeat offenders, then that blood is on her hands,” Giuliani said.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep Tom Suozzi said, “It can’t OK that the Queens DA prosecutes for resisting arrest, but the Manhattan DA does not. This is a green light for chaos.”

Bragg defended his decision, saying of course he will prosecute serious gun crimes and people who use force when resisting arrest.

“The guns and the armed robberies, loaded or unloaded, are serious and significant. We’re going to do them. The ones that don’t rise to that level… we’re still gonna do the cases, but we’re gonna be looking at diversion and alternatives,” said Bragg.

This all comes as the detectives union has established a hotline for police to immediately report any instance where Bragg’s office refuses to appropriately prosecute. They’re also considering a class action lawsuit.

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A spokesperson for Gov. Hochul said, “Governor Hochul is focused on working with Mayor Adams and other elected officials on issues of public safety and protecting communities.”

Marcia Kramer