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Manhattan prosecutors drop charges against 30 Columbia protesters

Charges against dozens of anti-Israel protesters who occupied and barricaded themselves in a building on Columbia University’s campus in April were dropped Thursday.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has dropped charges against 30 students and staff members who were arrested during the campus unrest.

“In the interest of justice, all of these cases will be dismissed and sealed,” Judge Kevin McGrath announced in court.

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On April 30, 2024, the New York Police Department arrested dozens of pro-Palestinian students at Columbia University after they barricaded themselves in a building in Hamilton Hall near the Gaza solidarity camp in New York. (Selcuk Akar/Anadolu via Getty Images)

All of the protesters were arrested hours after taking over the academic building of Hamilton Hall on April 30 and were initially charged with third-degree trespass, a misdemeanor.

Manhattan District Attorney Steven Milan said there was insufficient evidence to show the defendants personally damaged property or injured anyone, and noted that protesters were wearing masks and covering security cameras, according to Reuters.

Prosecutors said the arrested students have no criminal history and that all will face disciplinary action from Columbia, including suspension or expulsion.

“The Attorney’s Office continues to pursue cases at both campuses, including any assaults on police officers,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement to Fox News Digital, referring to Columbia University and the City University of New York. “School disciplinary proceedings are ongoing for students whose cases were dismissed.”

Columbia University When contacted by Fox News Digital, he declined to comment on the dropped lawsuit.

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Maintenance workers confront protesters

Maintenance workers confront protesters attempting to erect barricades inside Hamilton Hall at Columbia University on April 30. (Alex Kent/Getty Images)

The chaotic protests came amid similar demonstrations over Israel’s war with Hamas, in which anti-Israel protesters set up illegal encampments on college campuses across the country, and were intensified after Columbia University issued a number of suspensions.

Bragg’s office refused to drop the charges against 13 other defendants, two of whom were Columbia students and the other 11 had no ties to the school, though most were graduates.

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Their cases were supposed to be dropped if they were not arrested for the next six months, but they rejected the offer and are due to appear in court on July 25.

The office is charging James Carlson, who is not affiliated with Columbia University, with criminal damage to property and arson for setting fire to an Israeli flag and destroying police surveillance cameras inside the prison before the takeover.

Students wave flags during a march in support of a pro-Palestinian protest camp on the Columbia University campus.

Students wave flags during a march in support of a pro-Palestinian protest camp on the Columbia University campus. (Reuters/Caitlin Ochs)

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Carlson appeared in court with his lawyer and said he plans to challenge the prosecution.

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