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Manhattan DA Criticized for Dropping Charges Against Columbia University Protestors

 June 23, 2024

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is facing backlash for his decision to drop charges against most of the anti-Israel activists involved in the occupation of a Columbia University academic building.

Bragg's decision regarding the university demonstrators has sparked accusations of a political double standard, especially given Bragg's recent prosecution of former President Donald Trump, as the Washington Times reports.

Protesters Occupy Columbia University Building

On April 30, a group of anti-Israel activists took over Hamilton Hall, an academic building at Columbia University. The occupation involved 43 protesters, most of whom were masked, making it difficult for authorities to identify individuals responsible for specific actions.

Prosecutors later cited this lack of identifiable evidence and the protesters' clean criminal records as reasons for dropping the charges.

Despite the damage caused and the assault on a custodian, Bragg's office decided to drop charges against 30 of the protesters.

This decision was met with outrage from various Jewish groups and supporters of Israel, who felt that the severity of the actions warranted prosecution.

Outrage Over Dropped Charges

Joel Petlin, a prominent critic of Bragg's decision, highlighted the extent of the damage caused by the protesters. "Pro Hamas protesters caused tens of thousands of dollars in damages and attacked a custodian at Columbia University," Petlin said. "How much damage do you need to do in order for the Manhattan DA to prosecute you if your name isn’t Donald Trump?"

Further compounding the controversy, Bragg's office offered to drop charges against the remaining 13 defendants if they avoided arrest for six months. This offer was rejected, and these defendants are now scheduled to reappear in court on July 25.

Comparison to Trump's Prosecution

Critics have drawn comparisons between Bragg's handling of the Columbia University case and his prosecution of former President Donald Trump.

Last month, Trump was found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records. This prosecution has been seen by some as a display of Bragg's willingness to pursue high-profile cases aggressively.

Cleta Mitchell, another vocal critic, remarked on what she sees as a disparity in Bragg's approach. "Alvin Bragg’s creativity in fashioning bogus charges against Pres Trump seems to have vanished," she stated, questioning the D.A.'s consistency.

Political Bias Allegations

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) also weighed in, accusing Bragg of a political double standard.

"Bragg can fabricate charges against President Trump with ease, but gives actual criminals nothing but a slap on the wrist. Pathetic," Blackburn said, echoing the sentiments of many who see Bragg's actions as politically motivated.

The decision to drop the charges has raised questions about the DA's priorities and the influence of political considerations in prosecutorial decisions. The outrage among Jewish groups and Israel supporters underscores the deep divisions and strong emotions surrounding this case.

Upcoming Court Date

The 13 defendants who rejected the offer to have their charges dropped will appear in court on July 25. This upcoming court date is expected to draw significant attention, as it will provide further insight into how the case will be resolved and whether any of the remaining defendants will face consequences for their actions.

As the situation develops, the broader implications of Bragg's decisions will likely continue to be a topic of public debate.

The criticism he faces reflects broader concerns about fairness and consistency in the justice system, especially when high-profile political figures are involved.


In conclusion, the controversy surrounding Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg's decision to drop charges against most of the Columbia University protesters highlights the complexities and challenges of prosecutorial discretion.

The comparisons to Bragg's prosecution of former President Donald Trump underscore the perceived inconsistencies in his approach. As the remaining defendants prepare for their court appearance, the debate over political bias and justice continues to unfold.