Manhattan prosecutors dropped charges against almost all of the protesters arrested for occupying several campus buildings and participating in an encampment at Columbia University on Thursday.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office dismissed the cases for 31 of the 46 people charged with trespassing, attributing the decision to lack of evidence. The prosecutors told 14 other defendants that their cases would be dropped if they could avoid arrests over the next six months, according to NBC News.

In April, protesters broke into and occupied Columbia University campus building Hamilton Hall, with dozens of students arrested as well as several employees, six students from affiliated schools and 13 people with no affiliation to the university. The district attorney’s office is prosecuting one individual who has no affiliation with the school but has two other cases, including for flag burning.

Prosecutors said that the video footage was obtained from cameras that were covered up, making it difficult to prove identities, according to NBC News.

During the court hearing, several of the defendants wore masks, sunglasses and kaffiyehs, with one student holding a protest sign under their seat, which police later confiscated.

Several defendants also snickered at the mention of an Israeli flag being burned, according to NBC News.


The pro-Palestinian protesters caused the university to move classes online and cancel its main commencement ceremony.

Bragg’s office prosecuted former President Donald Trump for falsifying business records, securing a conviction in a Manhattan courtroom last month. To indict Trump on felony charges and get around the fact that the statute of limitations had expired, Bragg argued the records were falsified to conceal or commit another crime — which he did not prove.

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