Bragg drops trespassing charges against nearly all Columbia protesters

Of the 46 charged, 14 were undergraduate students at Columbia, nine were graduate students, and two were employees. 

Published: June 20, 2024 4:52pm

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg dropped charges on Thursday against most of the Columbia University protesters who were arrested for trespassing in Hamilton Hall in April.

Nearly 50 people were charged with criminal trespassing after they staged a multi-day protest on the Manhattan campus of the Ivy League school. But 31 of those cases were dismissed on Thursday due to a lack of evidence, according to NBC News. Prosecutors said another 14 of the 46 cases will be dismissed if the defendants do not have any other arrests in the next six months.

The court said the person who will remain charged is James Carlson, who has two other separate cases opened against him. One of those charges is flag burning, and he is not associated with Columbia University.

Hundreds of protesters initially engaged in the protests, which was centered on the U.S. response to the war in Israel. But the 46 who were charged had illegally occupied Hamilton Hall towards the end of the protest, despite warnings that they were trespassing. Of the 46 charged, at least 14 were undergraduate students at Columbia, nine were graduate students, and two were employees. 

Six of the others arrested were part of affiliated schools, and at least 13 of the rest were not affiliated with Columbia.

Prosecutors on Thursday said that those whose cases were dismissed did not have any criminal history, and those affiliated with the university, would be punished by the school. A Columbia University official confirmed that there would be consequences, but said the disciplinary process is still ongoing.

The cases were largely dismissed due to a lack of evidence, because security cameras were covered up inside of Hamilton Hall. 

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