update deskSchools & Higher Education

Bragg declines to charge dozens of anti-Israel protesters at Columbia

The Manhattan district attorney “who charged President Trump with 34 felonies over an internal business record is letting violent, pro-Hamas rioters go free,” said Sen. Tom Cotton.

Manhattan District Attorney-Elect Alvin Bragg attends a meeting with activists against gun violence at the SAVE office in East Harlem, N.Y., on Nov. 19, 2021. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
Manhattan District Attorney-Elect Alvin Bragg attends a meeting with activists against gun violence at the SAVE office in East Harlem, N.Y., on Nov. 19, 2021. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.

Despite dramatic video footage showing the New York City Police Department entering a building on the Columbia University campus on the Upper West Side to arrest anti-Israel protesters who had barricaded themselves within, Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, is declining to press charges against many of the alleged offenders.

A Manhattan prosecutor “argued that the defendants should not face criminal penalties, citing their lack of criminal histories and arguing that the protesters will face internal discipline at Columbia,” The Washington Free Beacon reported from within the courthouse on Thursday.

“The prosecutor also argued that Bragg’s office lacked evidence to land convictions in the cases, given those who occupied Hamilton Hall wore masks and covered up surveillance cameras,” the paper added. “New York City police arrested the occupiers while they were inside Hamilton Hall.”

The Free Beacon reported that Bragg’s office dismissed charges against 30 of the 46 people arrested for allegedly entering the building illegally. After the charges were dismissed, one protester, “whose entire head was covered with a ski mask,” said at a press conference that “the protesters ‘resist the pigs, the police in the U.S.’”

“This is standing with Palestinian resistance,” the protester said, per the Free Beacon. “This is an interlinking of our struggles—struggles against carceral violence, against colonialism, against racism, against genocide.” The person also said that the protesters “refuse to condemn the Palestinian resistance.”

JNS sought comment from the Manhattan D.A.’s office.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote that Bragg, “who charged President Trump with 34 felonies over an internal business record is letting violent, pro-Hamas rioters go free.”

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) called the Manhattan prosecutor’s decision “gutless.” The watchdog group StopAntisemitism commented that it was “flabbergasted” at Bragg’s decision.

Gerard Filitti, senior counsel at the Lawfare Project, wrote that Bragg dropped the charges “for lack of evidence that they were trespassing in a building they barricaded themselves in.”

“It’s time for the Justice Department to step in and protect our civil rights,” he added.

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