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N.Y.P.D. Says Officer Accidentally Fired Gun Inside Columbia Building

A police officer whose gun went off inside a Columbia University building this week fired it accidentally as police were clearing pro-Palestinian protesters from campus, New York police said Thursday.

No one was injured in Tuesday’s shooting and the bullet ended up in the frame of a wall a few feet away, the New York Police Department said in a statement. Police will hold a news conference about the episode Friday at 11:30 a.m.

The officer, who was not identified, was approaching a barricade on the first floor of Hamilton Hall when he fired his weapon, which was equipped with a flashlight, police said. The shooting was captured on the officer’s body camera, which was turned over to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

The episode did not come to light until Thursday, when The City, a local news organization, published a story that a shot was fired inside Hamilton Hall on Tuesday as police cleared protesters from the Columbia campus. It was the second time in two weeks that Columbia authorities asked police to enter the Manhattan campus to remove protesters. These demands have divided the university community and earned those responsible both praise and criticism.

More than 2,000 people have been arrested during protests on campuses across the country. University officials argued they were trying to balance protecting free speech and keeping campus safe. Protests at dozens of schools have been mostly peaceful.

Columbia said it had no choice but to call police Tuesday, ending a difficult 24 hours on campus after talks between university officials and protesters failed. Shortly after, some protesters left the encampment and took over Hamilton Hall, a building that has been the site of student protests since the 1960s. Police arrested more than 100 people that night on campus and in front of the school gates.

Hurubie Meko reports contributed.

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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