NYC mayor: Some 300 people detained at Columbia, City College, but many likely not students

New York City police officers take people into custody near the Columbia University campus in New York, April 30, 2024, after a building taken over by protesters earlier in the day was cleared, along with a tent encampment. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
New York City police officers take people into custody near the Columbia University campus in New York, April 30, 2024, after a building taken over by protesters earlier in the day was cleared, along with a tent encampment. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

New York City police took about 300 people into custody late yesterday at Columbia University and City College of New York at pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel demonstrations, Mayor Eric Adams says, but adds he believes many of them are not students.

Adams says in an appearance on “CBS Mornings” that police had identified organizations and individuals who weren’t university students but rather professional agitators.

“Once I became aware of the outside agitators who were part of this operation, as Columbia mentioned in their letter and their request with the New York City Police Department, it was clear we had to take appropriate actions when our intelligence division identified those who were professionals, well trained,” Adams says.

While people involved in the Columbia demonstrations acknowledge that some people not part of the college community have participated, they forcefully dispute the idea that outsiders were driving or unduly influencing the protests.

Adams points to protesters breaking into Hamilton Hall at Columbia University, saying some of the tactics and methods have been used across the globe.

“And we understood how really dangerous this situation had become,” Adams says, noting they made sure that a minimum amount of force was used to “eradicate the problem” at City University of New York and Columbia.

When there’s an analysis of those arrested, Adams said, a substantial number of them won’t be City University of New York or Columbia students.

Adams said he understands the power of protests, but they cannot turn violent. Breaking into Hamilton Hall was not protesting; “that was committing a crime,” he says.

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