Charges Dropped for 80 Pro-Palestinian Protesters in Landmark Legal Victory

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The United States appears to have removed criminal trespassing from the law books.

A Manhattan prosecutor dismissed charges ten days ago against 31 pro-Palestinian protesters who had occupied Hamilton Hall at Columbia University. The lack of criminal records and “extremely little video and security footage” that was available to the prosecutors led to the release of these protesters.

Kevin McGrath, the judge in the courtroom, announced that “all these matters have been dismissed and sealed for the sake of justice.”

Just a little justice

A prosecutor in Travis County dismissed similar charges on Wednesday against 80 protesters. Delia Garza is a Democrat and the elected attorney of Travis County. According to the Associated Press, she “determined that it could not meet the legal burden” to prove the cases.

What’s happening? Prosecutors are dropping charges because radical law firms represented protesters. This would have made prosecuting offenders a nightmare. The courts could have been clogged for weeks or even months until the DA dropped the charges in frustration.

Lawfare is known by many names.

The UT demonstrations were more violent and disruptive than those at Columbia.

In riot gear, on April 29, officers at UT surrounded about 100 protesters who were sitting, dragging them or carrying each one out, amid screams. A second group of protesters trapped police and an arrestee van between two buildings, creating a mass pushing and shoveling. Officers cleared the crowd using pepper spray and flashbang devices.

In a statement issued at the time, the university stated that many protesters were not affiliated with the institution and that camping was prohibited on campus in the capital of the state. The university also claimed that some protesters were “physically or verbally combative” towards staff at the school, which prompted officials to call police. Texas Department of Public Safety stated that arrests were made at the request of the university and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Garza sympathized and criticized the school authorities for sending the police to the protesters. She said that she wished university leadership had sought “another way to allow these protesters to express what they felt they needed to say.”

Garza does not have the responsibility of enforcing the law.

UT officials, meanwhile, were furious with Garza for his bluster.

In a press release, UT stated that it was “deeply dismayed” by Garza’s actions. It added that the school would continue to use all administrative and law enforcement tools available to ensure the safety of the 53,000 students on campus, no matter whether the criminal justice system is committed to this goal.

The statement reads: “Freedom of speech is welcomed on our campus”. “Violating rules or laws is not”, the statement stated. “Actions which violate Institutional Rules and laws should be met with consequences and not political posturing and media conferences.”

It’s all about the point. Change the law if you don’t agree with it. This is something we can do in America. Change the law if you want students, or anyone else, to be able to violate property rights without facing any consequences. Do not stand on your soapbox to complain about the laws and pretend that you cannot do anything.