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NYPD shares glimpse inside chaotic Columbia University raid of anti-Israel protesters

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The New York City Police Department released footage Tuesday night of its raid inside a Columbia University building after being given permission to take it back from anti-Israel agitators.

Hamilton Hall, which was overtaken late Monday night, was cleared at around 11 p.m. Tuesday after a nearly two-hour operation by NYPD officers, most of whom were in riot gear. The encampment on campus was also cleared of agitators, only their tents remained when the raid was over.

Officers moved in on the occupied building at 9 p.m. Tuesday after leadership at Columbia requested their assistance.

“@Columbia has requested our assistance to take back their campus, which has seen disturbing acts of violence, forms of intimidation & destruction of property,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry posted on X.

ANTISEMITIC RIOT AT COLUMBIA REACHES BOILING POINT AS AGITATORS TAKE OVER ACADEMIC BUILDING, BARRICADE DOORS

NYPD officers enter Columbia University's Hamilton Hall

New York City Police officers in riot gear entered Hamilton Hall at Columbia University at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday after the school requested police take back the building from anti-Israel agitators. (Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The footage from the raid showed officers climbing ladders to enter Hamilton Hall through second-floor windows. Once inside the building, short video clips released by the NYPD showed officers moving chairs that were barricading doors and breaking into rooms that were locked.

“@NYPDnews is dispersing the unlawful encampment and persons barricaded inside of university buildings and restoring order,” Daughtry continued on X. “We are in constant communication with university officials. Our priority is and always will be public safety for all.”

NYPD officers enter Columbia building through windows

New York City Police officers in riot gear also entered Hamilton Hall through second-floor windows during a raid to remove anti-Israel agitators. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Fox News confirmed the NYPD used at least four “distraction devices,” which are typically light-sound devices like flashbangs or a powder charge in a canister, to clear the agitators out of Hamilton Hall. Tear gas was not used, despite local reports.

An arrest total was not available Tuesday night, but police said there was no violence during the raid and there were no injuries reported.

Anti-Israel agitator removed from Columbia University

The NYPD said Hamilton Hall was cleared by about 11 p.m. on Tuesday. The total number of arrests was not immediately available. (Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images)

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A letter from the university Tuesday night defended its decision to call the NYPD for backup in regaining control of Hamilton Hall. In the letter, posted on X by Daughtry, Columbia said the building was taken over after someone hid inside of it until after it was closed with the purpose of occupying the building. That person then let other people inside.

“We believe that while the group who broke into the building involved students, it is led by individuals who are not affiliated with the University. The individuals who have occupied Hamilton Hall have vandalized University property and are trespassing,” the letter read in part.

Protester smashing window

Anti-Israel agitators broke into Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall late Monday night with the intention of occupying the building during a weekslong protest against Israel’s war in Gaza, the university said. (Alex Kent/Getty Images)

Columbia said due to “serious safety concerns,” it was left with “no choice” other than to seek help from the NYPD after the building was occupied.

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The escalating violence of anti-Israel agitators at Columbia prompted the university to request the NYPD’s presence on campus through at least May 17 – two days past graduation.

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