New details emerge about NYPD cop’s ‘purely unintentional’ gun discharge during Columbia raid on anti-Israel protesters inside Hamilton Hall

The NYPD sergeant who by chance fired his gun during Tuesday night time’s operation to oust anti-Israel protesters from Columbia University mistakenly let the slug fly as he shifted the weapon from one hand to a different so he might unlock an workplace door, officers mentioned. 

The “experienced” cop — who had served as a sergeant for eight years within the division’s Emergency Service Unit — was holding a 9mm handgun with an hooked up flashlight as he helped different officers entry a locked workplace on the primary ground of the Ivy League college’s Hamilton Hall, ESU Commanding Officer Chief Carlos Valdez advised reporters Friday. 

His staff had already damaged a window — permitting the sergeant to succeed in by the opening within the glass to unlock an workplace door from the inside, Valdez mentioned. 

He realized he wanted his dominant proper hand to try this, so he switched the gun over to his left, the police official mentioned. 

“[That’s] when the unintentional discharge occurred,” Valdez mentioned.

“The bullet traveled to the office glass and into the office they were attempting to gain access to.”

“After the firearm discharged, the sergeant immediately assessed his team and ensured that nobody was injured,” the chief added.

“The team gained access to the office and found that there was nobody inside. In this case, the bullet landed on the floor of the office and didn’t travel anywhere else. So it was apparent that it had struck no one.” 

The sergeant continued his project — ensuring the constructing was cleared — and sounded the alarm to his personal supervisor “at the first opportunity,” Valdez mentioned.

“At no time were any police officers, members of the public or any protesters in danger,” Valdez mentioned.

“This was purely unintentional.”

Wild footage reveals layers of barricades NYPD breached to confront Columbia protesters
The NYPD sergeant who mistakenly fired his gun during the raid to oust anti-Israel protesters from Columbia’s Hamilton Hall let the slug fly as he shifted the weapon so he might unlock an workplace door. New York City Police Department

The sergeant concerned shall be recommended and despatched to retraining, he added.

Columbia college students and different protesters had already been moved to a distinct a part of the constructing — the foyer and most important entrance space — by the point the sergeant had let off the stray spherical, in keeping with Carlos Nieves, the NYPD’s assistant commissioner for public data.

A complete of 109 folks have been arrested during Tuesday night time’s operation, which additionally included the ultimate clearing of the encampment on the campus’ garden — which began a nationwide pattern at different elite universities since its mid-April erection.

Antisemitism controversy at Columbia University: Key occasions

  • More than 280 anti-Israel demonstrators have been cuffed at Columbia and the City of New York campuses in a single day in a “massive” NYPD operation.
  • One hundred and 9 folks have been nabbed on the Ivy League campus after cops responded to Columbia’s request to assist oust a harmful mob that had illegally taken over the Hamilton Hall tutorial constructing late Tuesday, NYC Mayor Eric Adams and police mentioned.
  • Hizzoner blamed the on-campus chaos on insurgents who’ve a “history of escalating situations and trying to create chaos” as an alternative of protesting peacefully.
  • Columbia’s embattled president Minouche Shafik, who has confronted mounting calls to resign for not cracking down sooner, issued a press release Wednesday saying the on-campus violence had “pushed the university to the brink.”
  • Columbia University president Minouche Shafik was accused of “gross negligence” whereas testifying earlier than Congress. Shafik refused to say if the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is antisemitic.
  • More than 100 Columbia professors signed a letter defending college students who assist the “military action” by Hamas.

The morning after the operation — and an identical takedown at CUNY’s City College — Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD officers briefed the media, however made no point out of the unintended discharge. 

“I think we could have talked about it, but I don’t recall it coming up organically at that press conference,” Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Tarik Sheppard mentioned Friday.

Members of the NYPD prepare to enter Columbia University campus to clear the pro-Palestinian protest encampment and Hamilton Hall where demonstrators barricaded themselves inside on April 30, 2024 in New York City
His staff had already damaged a window — permitting the sergeant to succeed in by the opening within the glass to unlock an workplace door from the inside, ESU Commanding Officer Chief Carlos Valdez mentioned.  Getty Images

“And first off, we normally don’t do any kind of release on an accidental discharge.”

“I knew it would come up eventually, because it always does,” he added. 

Douglas Cohen, a spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s workplace, mentioned Thursday night time that his workplace’s Police Accountability Unit is investigating the taking pictures, as “it is our policy to review such incidents.”

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