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A top official within the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has defended the department’s actions at Columbia University, stating that the force was necessary to maintain order during what he described as “lawless” protests. 

This comes after the school administration requested that the NYPD dismantle the encampments and reclaim a building that had been overtaken by demonstrators. Following the request, hundreds of officers equipped with riot gear were deployed to the campus on Tuesday.


During an interview on NewsNation, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said, “What we’re doing is we’re holding these students accountable. These are some spoiled kids who think they can do what they want. No accountability, no consequences, backed up by teachers who are on the same page with them. And let me be clear here: We support their right to protest. It’s a good thing, we do it properly. But, you know, under this mayor, our commissioner, the lawless part of it, to the extent that we are not going to put up with it, and we’re going to act fast when we see it. And I think we are doing that, and we’re changing the narrative in the city.”

The operation has sparked a variety of reactions among political figures. While some Democrats criticized the police’s approach, others, including Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, praised their effectiveness. Former President Trump described the NYPD’s actions as “beautiful to watch.” However, New York City Council member Tiffany Cabán condemned the response, labeling it “authoritarian” and a “colossal disgrace.”

Chief Chell also accused some participants of being “outside agitators,” a claim supported by evidence of sophisticated equipment used to secure buildings, which he suggested were not typical student supplies. Despite the claims, protestors have argued that this is “propaganda” being spread by law enforcement to “discredit our message.” 


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