Maricopa County’s top prosecutor at odds with Manhattan DA over violent crime suspect

Feb 21, 2024, 2:00 PM

Split image of Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, left, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvi...

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said Feb. 21, 2024, that she won't extradite a New York city murder suspect because of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. (YouTube/Surprise Police Department Screenshot and Getty Images File Photo)

(YouTube/Surprise Police Department Screenshot and Getty Images File Photo)

PHOENIX – The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is accusing metro Phoenix’s top prosecutor of “playing political games” with a high-profile violent crime suspect.

Raad Almansoori, 26, has been held in a Maricopa County jail since his arrest in Scottsdale on Sunday. He is suspected in two stabbings in metro Phoenix, including one at a West Valley fast-food restaurant.

Authorities believe Almansoori killed a woman found dead in a New York hotel room earlier this month. Law enforcement officials are also investigating his potential involvement in violent crimes in other states.

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, a Republican who faces a primary challenge in her reelection bid this year, said Wednesday she wouldn’t extradite Almansoori to New York, citing Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s track record as the reason.

“I’ve instructed my extradition attorneys not to agree to that,” Mitchell said during a joint press conference with the Surprise Police Department. “We’re going to keep him here. These are mandatory prison sentences and having observed the treatment of violent criminals in the New York area by the Manhattan DA there, Alvin Bragg, I think it’s safer to keep him here and keep him in custody so that he cannot be out doing this to individuals either in our state or county or anywhere in the United States.”

How did Manhattan DA respond to Maricopa County Attorney?

Not long after Mitchell made her comments, an unnamed Manhattan District Attorney’s Office spokesperson issued a statement saying it was “deeply disturbing that … Mitchell is playing political games in a murder investigation.”

Mitchell said her decision “is not aimed at the New York Police Department at all.” However, the Manhattan DA statement called it a “slap in the face” to New York law enforcement agencies.

“In Manhattan, we are serious about New Yorkers’ safety, which is why murders are down 24% and shootings are down 38% since DA Bragg took office. New York’s murder rate is less than half of Phoenix, Arizona, because of the hard work of the NYPD and all of our law enforcement partners. It is a slap in the face to them and to the victim in our case to refuse to allow us to seek justice and full accountability for a New Yorker’s death,” the DA’s statement says.

The statement was posted to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, along with a chart comparing the 2022 homicide rate per 100,000 residents in Phoenix, New York City and Manhattan. Phoenix’s rate (11.6) was more than double the New York rates (5.4 for New York City and 5.0 for Manhattan).

Mitchell took note of the response and posted a rebuttal on X.

“It’s great to see the @ManhattanDA finally take interest in violent crime. My job is to focus on the victims I was elected to protect,” she said.

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Maricopa County’s top prosecutor at odds with Manhattan DA over violent crime suspect