Report: After Columbia University student murdered, campus union still pushing to defund, abolish police on campus

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NEW YORK, NY- On Thursday, December 2nd, a Columbia University student was stabbed and killed in Morningside Park, just a few blocks away from the university campus. 

The park, a popular place for students to hangout as well as the Ivy League institution itself, have seen many slayings over the years, giving the university one of the worse crime and safety records in the nation.

Two years prior to the stabbing of 30-year-old Davide Giri, a Columbia grad student from Italy, 18-year-old Tessa Majors, was stabbed to death in Morningside Park.

Over the last year-and-a-half, many cities have called to “defund the police,” a sentiment echoed on several university campuses across the country, including Columbia.

The union that represents Columbia University Student teachers, like Giri, wanted to cut all ties with the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Despite the recent stabbing and other heinous crimes at the university, many on the liberal campus remain anti-cop. In June 2020, the organizing committee of Local 2110 of the student workers union, declared its loyalty to George Floyd protests in “defunding” and “fight the police state.”

In their “Statement on Police Brutality,” the union called for Columbia to “immediately cut ties with the NYPD and the New York City Police Foundation and divest from any funding for police.” The union also stated that they wanted to “ban police from all Columbia campuses and redirect funds toward supporting black and indigenous people.”

Those anti-police statements from the union were released just seven months after Major’s death and a year-and-a-half before its own member, Giri, would be stabbed to death. 

In 2019, a petition started demanding that Columbia “immediately cease any partnership or contract with the New York Police Department” and has been signed by nearly 14,000 people our of their 15,000 person goal. The Change.org petition states:

“Demanding that Columbia immediately cease any partnership or contract with the New York City Police Department. Columbia has offered enough empty words about their commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion while doing nothing to end institutional anti-Blackness.”

The statement continued:

“There is no middle ground — Black lives are being lost at the hands of police and you are complicit. We call for Columbia to diverge from the NYPD immediately and redirect the divested funds to support community-led education programs and alternatives to policing.”

In the signature/comment section, one signer wrote:

“NYPD has no place on our campus. I have been stopped and frisked by NYPD three times in my life for no good reason. I have been pulled over multiple times for no good reason and have been treated with disrespect by the officers frisking me. I do not feel safe on campus around NYPD.”

Report: After Columbia University student murdered, campus union still pushing to defund, abolish police on campus

Reportedly, after each killing, both Majors and Giri, the university pledged to have more patrol officers around and increased cooperation with the NYPD. After Giri’s murder, Columbia President Lee Bollinger has pledged to work directly with the NYPD.

In response, the NYPD has stepped up presence after 7 p.m. in Morningside Park and the Parks Department has deployed more of its enforcement officers. The university added foot patrols along parts of Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, and dedicated more vehicle patrols to Morningside Drive and the perimeter of Mornginside Park.

In a statement to the Post, NYPD said:

“The NYPD will continue to work in close partnership with Columbia University and elected officials. Extra patrols, which have been in place since the incident, consisting of uniformed officers, marked vehicles, parks Department Officers and light towers will continue to be visible in and around the area of Morningside Park and Columbia University in order to address concerns and keep residents safe.”

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Not a hate crime? Woman caught on camera violently ambushing officer in police-defunded New York City

December 9th, 2021

BRONX, NY – Surveillance video shows the moment when a woman walked up to a uniformed officer and began attacking him as he exited a precinct house in the Bronx.

The officer received what was reported as minor injuries from the apparently unprovoked attack.

Sadly, in the police-defunded city of New York, attacks on police officers have become something that is seemingly as normal as violent crime is in the city.

Over the course of the last few months, there have been several reports of officers, on or off duty, being attacked by random people in the streets the officers are sworn to protect.

The latest incident of this occurred on November 30th when an officer was attacked in front of the Bronx New York Police Department precinct house.

According to the video that the New York Post obtained, a woman, identified as 29-year-old Penelope Hernandez, walked up the stairs towards the officer and began punching him in the face.

The unnamed officer then began to work to take the woman into custody for the apparently unprovoked attack against him and began to struggle with her on the sidewalk.

Thankfully, there was another officer and an unidentified second man that came to the officer’s aid and they were able to take her into custody.

As of now, by all reports, the attack on the officer appears to be random. Hernandez was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, and obstruction of government administration according to the New York Police Department.

The officer received what was reported as bruising and swelling to his face as well as abrasions to his knee. None of the injuries to the officer were reported to be serious in nature.

In a similar apparent unprovoked attack that occurred in November, a uniformed New York Police officer was on East 194th Street when a man identified as Isus Thompson walked up behind him and struck the officer from behind with a backpack.

While it would not seem that a backpack could cause serious injury, one that contained a “safe constructed of metal” would certainly do some damage.

The attack on the officer was captured by several surveillance cameras in the area as well as the officer’s own body camera. The officer was sent to the hospital to treat his injuries while Thompson was arrested and charged with the unprovoked attack.

Amazingly, Thompson was released a day later without having to post any bail.

It’s something that even a Bronx activist is saying is wrong. Reverend Loren Russell, who is working to increase the bond between the New York Police Department and the community told NBC New York:

“That’s not acceptable [to release Thompson]. You can’t let everyone go free if they commit a violent crime.”

What makes Thompson’s release in this case more shocking is that he not only has a violent criminal history, but he has been convicted of attempting to murder a New York Police officer in the past.

Court records indicate that Thompson was convicted of stabbing a police officer in 2008 and served only two years of a shockingly short sentence of five years…for the attempted murder of a police officer.

New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea expressed his frustration at the situation on Twitter:

“Arrested in ’08 for the attempted murder of a police officer, the same man was again arrested Sun. for attacking a #Bronx cop from behind. Late last night, this violent criminal was released without bail.

“Do we have to wait for him to kill someone before this is taken seriously?”

Russell added:

“The violence in our community is way up. If I’m the one who’s the victim of this and I realize the person who victimized me was incarcerated but released, then that makes me very angry.”

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After mayor claims cops lied, PD release footage showing officers attacked by group while trying to make an arrest

NEWARK, NJ– Recently released video footage shows Newark police officers being attacked while trying to make an arrest.

 

According to reports, the incident happened on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 1st while officers were trying to arrest a man who was accused of gun possession. While trying to make the arrest, a group of individuals descended on the officers and began attacking them.

On Friday, June 3rd, the Newark Police Department (NPD) released clips from body worn camera footage showing the incident.

The department said that it does not usually release camera footage during an investigation, but that they wanted to release the video clips due to “numerous rumors and erroneous reports” about the attack.

Newark Public Safety Director Brian A. O’Hara said in a statement:

“Typically, when a criminal investigation is underway, we don’t release the footage per policy. Regardless, when police wear body worn cameras, the public expects that we have nothing to hide. Therefore, I believe it is in the best interest of the public to release this video, especially in light of all the false information circulating about this incident.”

The release of the video also comes after Newark Mayor Ras Baraka originally said that no officers were attacked and that the police union was spreading lies, stroking fear in the community. However, because of the attack, at least two officers were injured and had to be hospitalized.

Baraka accused Newark FOP Lodge No. 12 President James Stewart of spinning a “false narrative” about the officers being pummeled to the ground and attacked by a mob.

The mayor said:

“Two men tried to interfere in the arrest…while a small group of people gathered, they in no way attacked police.”

officer attack stomp
Youtube screenshot

The photo above is a screen shot from the body cam video, which was taken right after the man pictured pushed over the officer wearing the body camera being viewed and then stomped on him straight down while the officer laid on the ground.

Authorities said that two Newark Police officers and a detective from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office were patrolling the area of Fabyan Place and Cypress Street around 1:30 p.m. on June 1st in response to gun violence in that area.

O’Hara added that while patrolling the area the officers approached a group of men on the street and attempted to stop one man who was suspected of gun possession. The released body camera footage is below.

O’Hara stated that a longer version of the video is still being processed, but that it was not yet currently available. Officials said that two brothers of the suspect came to the scene and “physically interfered” with the arrest. Officers called for backup and two officers were injured while attempting to make the arrest.

O’Hara said that Branden K. Rodwell, 31, of Newark and Justin Rodwell, 30, of Irvington, were arrested at the scene. The next day, Wednesday, June 2nd, Jaykil A. Rodwell, 28, and Jasper D. Spivey, 24, both of Newark, were arrested after surrendering to police following issuances of arrest warrants for each on charges related to that incident.

Police said that Branden and Justin Rodwell each face charges of three counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, obstruction of the administration of the law, and resisting arrest.

 

Jaykil Rodwell and Spivey each face charges of three counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, obstruction of the administration of the law, and hindering apprehension or prosecution. Essex County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Katherine Carter confirmed that the incident is now under investigation by her office.

On Friday, June 3rd, O’Hara commended the officers for how they handled the incident, contradicting what the mayor had said a day prior.

O’Hara said:

“They used extraordinary restraint even while it is clear from the video that the officers were out-numbered and that they were attacked while attempting to make an arrest. We cannot and will not standby and allow police officers, who are sworn to safeguard our streets, to be physically attacked for doing their job.

“In today’s climate, where similarly minor incidents have resulted in unpredictable outcomes, our officers ensured that not one of the civilians involved was injured and that is highly commendable.”

 

Stewart thanked O’Hara for releasing the footage so that an accurate depiction of what occurred can be viewed by the public.

Stewart said:

“Now the citizens can view for themselves what these officers were up against that afternoon and maybe ask themselves what they would have done had they been in that situation. The lack of respect toward police and the disregard of the law cannot continue and we need all of our leaders emphasizing that.”

He added:

“As I stated on Tuesday night, these officers were attacked while they were simply trying to make the community safer, trying to get a gun off the streets of Newark.”

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