05/28/2024

Michael Gerber, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters, said Monday that “any kind of violence is not going to be tolerated” as anti-Israel demonstrations have upended Columbia University. 

“Any kind of property damage is not going it is not going to be tolerated,” he continued. “Any sort of criminality is not going to be tolerated. And that includes harassment or threats or menacing or stalking or anything like that that is not protected by the First Amendment.”

Gerber earlier said “Columbia University is private property” and “absent some ongoing crime, we cannot just go on the Columbia campus as we see fit.”

“It is up to the university to decide whether or not they want us on campus. As a general matter, Columbia University — and this goes back many years — does not want NYPD present on campus. That is their decision,” Gerber added.

“Last week, on Thursday, they informed us that they had students who were trespassing. They asked us to come on the campus to take action, and we did,” he continued. “But that was an exceptional case in the normal course. They’ve made clear that we’re not to be there.”

NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Tarik Sheppard said Monday that “there’s been no credible threats to any particular group or individual coming from this protest or any other” at Columbia University, where anti-Israel demonstrations have been raging.

Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry added that the local bureau commander “has been in close contact with the school administration here, and they asked — the only NYPD assistance that they have currently asked for — is for us to patrol the outside, the outer perimeter of the school.”

“We have received reports that Israeli students walking on campus had their flags taken away from them, snatched out of their hands. We also received reports that the Israeli students — there were some hateful things that were said towards them and they want to know if that was a crime or not,” Daughtry added. “But there has been we have received any reports of any physical harm against any student. However, if there’s any student, Jewish or whoever that’s been assaulted or wants to make a police report or wants to talk to the police, we encourage them to call 911.”