Latest Post

Springfield man pleads guilty to distributing child sexual abuse material Norwalk Police Remind Residents Not to Use Golf Carts on Public Roads

The Manhattan district attorney dropped charges against more than half of the Columbia University protesters arrested during a pro-Palestinian demonstration on campus in April.

Hundreds of students occupied Hamilton Hall, a building on Columbia University’s Manhattan campus, on April 30 as part of a nationwide mobilization of protests on college campuses to protest Israel’s attacks on Palestinians and demanded that their university institutions Divestment from Israel.

At the heart of the protests is Israel’s ongoing offensive against militant Hamas in Gaza, which launched a deadly surprise attack on Israel on October 7. Since then, Israel’s sustained attacks in Gaza have killed over 30,000 people and displaced most of the population.

On Thursday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office dropped charges against 31 of 46 protesters arrested at the college’s April 30 pro-Palestinian demonstrations, citing lack of evidence among other reasons. Those who studied or worked at Columbia face ongoing disciplinary proceedings.

All of the people whose cases were dismissed were students or staff at Columbia, Barnard or Union Theological Seminarythe prosecutor told HuffPost.

James Carlson, another defendant not affiliated with Columbia University, is charged with trespassing and burning an Israeli flag. According to NBC NewsThere are two open cases against him with different charges.

Some of the people — two students and 12 people who were neither staff nor students at Columbia — were offered a chance to have the charges dropped if they were not arrested within the next six months, NBC News reported. Prosecutors said the people’s nonexistent criminal history and limited video or surveillance footage of what happened in Hamilton Hall were factors in the dismissal of the charges.

“The available evidence cannot establish or prove that they were personally involved in damaging Columbia University property or causing personal injury. Furthermore, no police officers were injured,” prosecutors wrote of the 12 individuals, adding that it would be “extremely difficult” to prove charges other than trespassing at trial.

Some of the protesters said at a press conference after their hearing that they would oppose the proposed dropping of the charges in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Reuters also reported The individuals stated that they would reject the proposal and would appear in court again on July 25.

HuffPost reached out to a Columbia spokesperson who declined to comment.