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'A hero and victim': NYC parking attendant who shot suspected thief in self-defense gets charges dropped

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has dropped criminal charges against a parking garage attendant who allegedly shot a man in self-defense.

What is the background?

Early Saturday morning, Moussa Diarra confronted a man inside a Manhattan parking garage over theft suspicions.

When confronted, the suspected thief, Charles Rhodie, pulled out a gun and allegedly shot Diarra. A struggle then ensued, and Diarra managed to wrestle the firearm away from Rhodie. Diarra then returned fire, shooting Rhodie in the chest.

Despite shooting Rhodie in self-defense, Diarra was initially charged with attempted murder, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon. Rhodie was slapped with the same charges, plus burglary.

What happened now?

After public outcry, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said that Diarra would not be charged with any crimes. The charges against Rhodie, meanwhile, will stand.

"We are declining to prosecute Moussa Diarra pending further investigation," a spokesman said, WNYW-TV reported.

Charles Clayman, Diarra's attorney, explained that police charged his client because they were following guidance provided by Bragg's office, but had no choice but to drop the charges once the circumstances became more clear.

"We were in constant touch with the DA, and I just think that the police on the scene felt that that was the right thing to do," he told the New York Post. "And then things would be sorted out by the DA, and I believe that’s what happened."

"We are more than pleased with the result," Clayman said, describing his client "a hero and victim."

Prior to the charges getting dropped, Diarra had been handcuffed to his hospital bed, where he is recovering from his injuries.

The New York Police Department confirmed with the New York Post that the initial decision to charge Diarra was made "with the guidance of the DA's office."

The incident drew comparisons to Bragg's controversial decision to charge a bodega worker with murder last year after he fatally stabbed an attacker in self-defense. After a wave of public backlash and clear evidence showing the worker was protecting himself, Bragg's office dropped all criminal charges against the deli worker.

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