Zeldin slams Manhattan DA for dropping charges against pro-Palestinian protestors

Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) ripped Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for dropping the charges against many of the pro-Palestinian protestors who occupied a Columbia University building during an April demonstration.

“There is no justice system when you have Alvin Bragg as your prosecutor,” Zeldin, also a former New York gubernatorial candidate, said on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends. “So, for those helpless Jewish students and members of the faculty who were hoping that there would be consequences after watching all of these crimes getting committed, this is another day of disappointment.

In a court hearing Thursday, the Manhattan district attorney’s office announced it would not pursue criminal charges for 31 of 46 people initially arrested for trespassing after they took over an administration building on Columbia’s campus.

The DA’s decision came in part from a lack of evidence linking the protestors to specific acts of property damage, coupled with the students’ lack of criminal histories, the district attorney’s office said, per The Associated Press.

The takeover of the building, known as Hamilton Hall, occurred on April 30 when dozens of student protestors barricaded themselves inside the building, marking a significant escalation in the weeks-long demonstrations at campuses across the country.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) were called in to break up the barricade and Columbia threatened to expel those involved.

Zeldin, speaking on his disagreement with the decision, pointed to a New York Post piece that suggested three Columbia administrators allegedly sent hostile text messages during a panel discussion about antisemitism.

“So, if you’re not going to have the accountability that you need on campus and the culture is going to continue to get eroded, laws are going to get broken, the prosecutors not going to prosecute,” Zeldin said. ” This will get worse that people who have committed these crimes only get emboldened.”

Columbia University served as the epicenter for the pro-Palestinian demonstrations that quickly spread across the country and led to the arrests of hundreds of students and faculty.

Demonstrators were calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and for U.S. schools and businesses to sever all ties with Israel.

The Manhattan DA’s office said it is continuing to purse cases from Columbia and Citty College, including all assaults against police officers. School disciplinary proceedings are ongoing for the students whose cases were dismissed, the DA’s office told The Hill.

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