Mayor Blames Outside Influence for Protest Disruptions, Announces Expansion of NYPD Recruit Classes

By: Shenal Tissera

New York City mayor Eric Adams criticized the people who have caused disruption, like throwing chairs and bottles, during the protests in support of Palestine at college campuses in the city, and announced the addition of two New York City Police Department academy classes at his weekly press conference at City Hall on Tuesday.

Hundreds of students and faculty were arrested on campus at Columbia University and New York University this week as they protested their institutions’ ties to Israel. Protesters from both schools demanded they divest all financial and academic ties to Israel and called for a permanent ceasefire in the region.

Last week, Columbia University Apartheid Divest, a coalition of Columbia University student groups, began occupying the center of campus and launched the Gaza Solidarity encampment. This prompted Columbia University President Minouche Shafik to authorize police to remove and arrest the protesters on April 18.

Adams blamed “outside agitators” for the recent unrest within the city’s school campuses.

“There are people who are here, they latch on to any protests. To see our police officers having bottles thrown at them, chairs,” said Adams. “People who peacefully protest for an issue, they’re not throwing bottles and chairs.”

“Some of the specific comments that were being made at Columbia University, it really gets in the way of what people are attempting to highlight and fight for because we cannot fight to say ‘Save lives,’ while we are saying ‘Let’s destroy lives’,” said Adams.

Regarding the Columbia University protests, New York Police Department Chief of Patrol John Chell stated the “clear and present danger” was identified by the school, not the NYPD. No violence or injuries associated with the encampment were reported by the NYPD, according to the Columbia Spectator.

“The students that were arrested were peaceful, offered no resistance whatsoever, and were saying what they wanted to say in a peaceful manner,” said Chell in reference to the Columbia protestors.

Since October 7, over 34,000 people have been killed in Gaza by Israeli attacks, of which about 72% have been women and children, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. Of the 2.3 million people living in Gaza, 1.7 million have been displaced and 1.1 million are projected to face catastrophic levels of food insecurity according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Mayor Adams did not call for a permanent ceasefire and laid blame for the ongoing genocide of Palestinians at the feet of Hamas.

“It breaks our heart to see innocent lives lost in Gaza, babies being killed in Gaza,” said Mayor Adams. “I’ve made it extremely clear, Hamas is a terrorist, dangerous organization, hostages should be released and I think that is a clear pathway to stopping the violence that we see.”

Meanwhile, the mayor also championed the City’s investment in public safety by adding two additional police academy classes for this year. Each class, in July and October, will add 600 new officers to the force and will increase the total number of police recruits to 2,400 for 2024.

“That will mean more officers on the street and on subways ready to respond and drive crime down even further,” said Adams. “It is a critical investment. Nothing brings us a greater level of comfort than having that blue uniform. It’s a symbol of safety and stability.”

The mayor also touted the City’s effort to make its rideshare fleet entirely carbon emission free by 2030 through the Green Rides Initiative. Currently, the city’s rideshare fleet carried out 17% of their trips with EVs, putting the program two years ahead of schedule for complete decarbonization.

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