Alvin Bragg May Not Prosecute Pro-Palestinian Rioters Who Occupied Columbia University

On Wednesday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg refused to say whether he will prosecute the pro-Palestinian rioters who broke into and took over Hamilton Hall at Columbia University.

Bragg is currently prosecuting Donald Trump for an alleged campaign finance violation that is normally tried as a misdemeanor offense and would normally result in a fine as a felony. In addition to elevating the misdemeanor offense to a felony, the statute of limitations on the alleged crime had passed. On top of that, nondisclosure agreements are not illegal.

Despite Bragg’s overzealousness to go after Trump, he was unresponsive to inquiries from the Daily Caller regarding potential charges for pro-Palestinian rioters arrested on Tuesday. The New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested 119 rioters at Columbia University on Tuesday evening, as well as 173 at a City University of New York (CUNY) protest, where students also took over an administrative building.

Related: Donald Trump Questions the Motives Behind the Antisemitic Campus Riots

“Given his track record and the political nature of the events, I would be surprised if the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the charges in a serious manner,” Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson told the Daily Caller. “The charges are likely to be dropped against most perpetrators, and drastically reduced for others under an agreement that would see the charges eventually expunged.”

“In New York City, unfortunately, this type of weak prosecution agenda encourages more crime,” Jacobson continued.

Manhattan attorney Martin R. Stolar told The New York Times Tuesday that protestors are unlikely to face jail time.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said during a press conference Tuesday that potential charges could include “burglary in the third degree, criminal mischief, and trespassing” for students inside Hamilton Hall and “trespassing and disorderly conduct” for those in the encampments outside. The decision to bring charges is ultimately up to the district attorney.
Many individuals at Columbia were “outside agitators,” not students, police said Tuesday.
Protestors took over the building early Tuesday morning around 12:30 a.m. One protestor was seen on video smashing class on a door window with a hammer. A facility worker also claimed to be held “hostage” by the protestors, according to the Columbia Spectator.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators set up the encampment at Columbia over a week ago, with the university issuing a notice on Monday that student protestors would be suspended if they did not clear the encampment. Similar protests have been started on university campuses nationwide, including at the University of Southern California, which canceled its main stage graduation ceremony.

According to Stolar, the rioters could face charges ranging from disorderly conduct to second-degree criminal mischief. The latter carries a potential maximum jail sentence of seven years, and trespassing carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail. However, he told the New York Times that these charges are unlikely.

Protesters could face more serious consequences if evidence is found that they carried weapons or an explosive device into the building, Mr. Stolar said, or if they committed any violent assaults, Class B felonies that carry a penalty of between five and 25 years in jail.
Such outcomes are unlikely, Mr. Stolar said. Student protests at Columbia have been nonviolent, and most students have no prior criminal history. University administrators and the Manhattan district attorney’s office have decades of experience with such demonstrations, Mr. Stolar pointed out, including the Columbia protests of 1968, when students occupied the same building. Most were not criminally charged, Mr. Stolar said.
The current protesters inside Hamilton Hall will most likely receive an “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal,” or A.C.D., Mr. Stolar said, a type of deferred prosecution in which the case is adjourned for six months. If the prosecutor does not move to try the case within that period, the case is automatically dismissed and sealed.

Ask yourself what kind of justice system this is when these rioters may go uncharged, yet peaceful pro-life protesters outside an abortion clinic in Tennessee were prosecuted by the Biden administration. They were ultimately found guilty and face up to 11 years in prison

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