Democrats Rally Around DA Bragg After Decision to Drop Charges Against Columbia Vandals

AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura

Last week we got the news that DA Alvin Bragg's office was dropping charges against most of the students who took over Columbia's Hamilton Hall and the barricaded themselves inside. According to Bragg's office the students were just too clever to be charged.


There was limited video footage of what took place inside the campus building, Doug Cohen, a spokesman for the district attorney, said in a statement. The protesters wore masks and covered security cameras, preventing prosecutors from identifying those who had barricaded the doors and smashed chairs, desks and windows during the 17-hour occupation.

In other words, because the trespassers were well prepared to carry out their illegal actions, Bragg's office had no choice but to drop charges. Is this true? We'll probably never know because whatever evidence exists in these cases won't be subject to public scrutiny. We'll probably just have to take Alvin Bragg's word for it.

As you would expect, that's good enough for New York's elected Democrats who have rallied behind Bragg's decision:

In a radio interview on Friday, Mayor Adams, a Democrat, said he respected the district attorney’s decision. Representative Jerrold Nadler, also a Democrat and the longest-serving Jewish member of the House of Representatives, said he had “the uttermost faith in D.A. Bragg.”

“The reality is, many of the cases related to the protests at Columbia University are difficult to prosecute due to a lack of evidence, and the vast majority involved first-time offenders,” Mr. Nadler said in a statement. “I stand by his judgment in this matter.”


In the final paragraph of the NY Times' story we learn there were some critics who were not happy with Bragg's decision, though none are named or quoted. You have to click over the NY Post if you want to hear what they had to say.

 “What Alvin Bragg is saying to all New Yorkers who follow the law is if you conceal your identity, if you harass Jews long enough, if you break property, if you take maintenance workers hostage, if you do that, you will not be prosecuted,” seethed activist protester and Harvard University grad student Shabbos Kestenbaum...

A Jewish Columbia student, Yola Ashkenasie, called Bragg’s decision to cut breaks for many of the protesters who seized a building there in April “a betrayal of the safety and trust of all New Yorkers like myself...

“District Attorney Bragg has set a strikingly dangerous precedent. He has given a free pass to those who violently and systematically bring chaos to our streets and our campus,” said Columbia student Eden Yadegar.

They're right of course. Students were given many chances to de-escalate the situation at Columbia. Instead they chose to escalate into trespassing and vandalism. The fact that those students are now being given a pass means Columbia and other schools can expect more of this in the future, probably in the near future.


But my favorite excuse for Bragg's decision comes from a former leader of the left-wing National Lawyers Guild named Martin Stolar.

“When you evaluate that against the backdrop of what these arrests were, it doesn’t qualify as serious crime,” he added, “You have to pick and choose.”

The fact that Stolar has been a leftie activist since the 1960s probably has a lot to do with how he would pick and choose who should get prosecuted and who should not. And I think we all have a strong suspicion those same partisan factors have a lot to do with how DA Bragg's office exercises its discretion in criminal cases.

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