Police officer fired gun while clearing protesters from Columbia building, prosecutors say

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A police officer who was involved in clearing protesters from a Columbia University administration building earlier this week fired his gun inside the hall, a spokesman for District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office confirmed Thursday.No one was injured, according to spokesman Doug Cohen, who said there were other officers but no students in the immediate vicinity. He said Bragg’s office is reviewing the incident. He did not provide additional details.The New York Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The gunfire came as police officers stormed Hamilton Hall Tuesday evening, where pro-Palestinian protesters had been barricaded inside for more than 20 hours. Video showed officers with zip ties and riot shields streaming through a second-floor window. Police had said protesters inside presented no substantial resistance. More than 100 protesters were taken into custody.The demonstrators had seized Hamilton Hall early Tuesday, ramping up their presence on the campus from a tent encampment that had been there since April 17.The encampment was one of the earliest on college campuses.Despite more than 100 arrests on April 18 and the clearing of the tents, the protesters defied threats of suspension to return to the encampment. Then they escalated their demonstration by occupying Hamilton Hall, an administration building that was similarly seized in 1968 by students protesting racism and the Vietnam War.

A police officer who was involved in clearing protesters from a Columbia University administration building earlier this week fired his gun inside the hall, a spokesman for District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office confirmed Thursday.

No one was injured, according to spokesman Doug Cohen, who said there were other officers but no students in the immediate vicinity. He said Bragg’s office is reviewing the incident. He did not provide additional details.

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The New York Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The gunfire came as police officers stormed Hamilton Hall Tuesday evening, where pro-Palestinian protesters had been barricaded inside for more than 20 hours. Video showed officers with zip ties and riot shields streaming through a second-floor window. Police had said protesters inside presented no substantial resistance. More than 100 protesters were taken into custody.

The demonstrators had seized Hamilton Hall early Tuesday, ramping up their presence on the campus from a tent encampment that had been there since April 17.

The encampment was one of the earliest on college campuses.

Despite more than 100 arrests on April 18 and the clearing of the tents, the protesters defied threats of suspension to return to the encampment. Then they escalated their demonstration by occupying Hamilton Hall, an administration building that was similarly seized in 1968 by students protesting racism and the Vietnam War.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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