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

An officer whose gun went off inside a Columbia University building this week fired it accidentally as the police were removing pro-Palestinian protesters from the campus, the New York Police Department said on Thursday.

No one was injured during the shooting on Tuesday, and the bullet ended up in the frame of a wall a few feet away, the N.Y.P.D. said in a statement. The police will hold a news conference about the episode on 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 gun, which had a flashlight on it, the police said. The shooting was captured on the officer’s body camera, which was handed over to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Earlier, the police offered few details about the episode, besides confirming that a weapon had been fired on Tuesday, when dozens of officers cleared the Columbia campus of protesters at an encampment and inside Hamilton Hall, which demonstrators had occupied. It was the second time in two weeks that Columbia officials asked the police to enter the Manhattan campus to remove protesters. The requests have divided the university community and earned officials both praise and criticism.

More than 2,000 people have been arrested at protests on campuses across the country. University officials have argued that they are trying to balance free speech protections and security on campus. The protests at dozens of schools have been mostly peaceful.

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

Hurubie Meko contributed reporting.

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