NYPD mocked for displaying textbook on terrorism studies as proof of outside agitators at Columbia

‘There is somebody —whether they paid or not paid — but they are radicalizing our students,’ the NYPD deputy commissioner said

Kelly Rissman
Saturday 04 May 2024 15:57
NYPD Deputy Commissioner shows terrorism book as proof of ‘outside agitators’ on Columbia’s campus
NYPD Deputy Commissioner shows terrorism book as proof of ‘outside agitators’ on Columbia’s campus (Newsmax / screengrab)

A top New York Police Department official was mocked online after pointing to a “book on terrorism” as evidence of “outside agitators” at Columbia University’s protests against the war in Gaza.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry told Newsmax on Friday that authorities recovered a “book on terrorism” from Columbia’s Hamilton Hall. Showing the book to the camera, he said, “There is somebody —whether they paid or not paid — but they are radicalizing our students.”

Mr Daughtry was holding up a book titled, “Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction,” which is written by renowned British historian Charles Townshend.

“There is somebody behind this,” Mr Daughtry said, before saying police were investigating the “mastermind behind the scenes.”

This isn’t the first time he has boasted such claims, suggesting an outside force was responsible for the “radicalization” of student protesters.

“Pencils, books, laptops, those are the tools of students and what you expect to find on a college campus,” he wrote on his own X account. He noted that police also recovered helmets, hammers, goggles, ropes and gas masks from the scene.

“These are not the tools of students protesting, these are the tools of agitators, of people who were working on something nefarious,” he wrote.

Protesters walk out during University of Utah graduation ceremonies at the Huntsman Center Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Salt Lake City. Some of those students then joined a group gathered outside, voicing their support for Palestine. (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The internet quickly took issue with the “outside agitators” explanation, mocking the NYPD official.

Timothy Kaldes, the deputy director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, posted on X: “If @NYPDDaughtry saw books assigned in IR & MidEast Studies his head would explode. Of course we’re assigned such books.”

“How do you think we train professionals to work on these issues? No one at NYPD has books on terrorism? You all just study ‘Die Hard’?” he added.

One X user put it plainly: “You found an academic book written by a noted historian on a university campus? Oh the horror. Try again.”

“You found a textbook? on CAMPUS?! Why would students have a textbook??” another wrote sarcastically.

Political commentator Keith Olbermann wondered aloud, “Did you find ‘Policing For Dummies’ too?”

An associate professor at Utrecht University remarked, “So @NYPDDaughtry raided a [university] and came back with a book, then blew up the cover several times the original size, glued it to a bunch of blank pages & presents the well known introductory book by a respected scholar, published by Oxford University Press as a terrorism manual.” He added a clown emoji to make his point.

One user posted a photo of a full bookshelf, writing, “Shout if you want to borrow one, @NYPDDaughtry!”

Another wrote, “Sooo.. bike chains, some tools, helmets/goggles/protective gear, and a book? Oh my!”

Mr Daughtry’s comments echo New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ remarks. At a Wednesday press conference, Mr Adams said, “After speaking with [Columbia] throughout the week, at their request and their acknowledgement that outside agitators were on their grounds... we went in and conducted an operation.”

Although the mayor acknowledged that the “outside agitator” terminology was used during the 1960s Civil Rights movement to delegitimize protesters, he said, “But this police department cannot be caught up on Western politically correct terminology, we have to be caught up on public safety.”

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested at Columbia alone. NYPD have cracked down at other schools across the city, arresting students at Parsons, NYU and City College of New York over the last few days.

Beyond New York, protests have lit up college campuses across the US in recent weeks. Most of the student demonstrators are calling on universities to cut financial ties with Israel Israel as the country’s war in Gaza rages on for the eighth month.

An estimated 34,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed since the start of the war. Israel’s ongoing offensive comes in the wake of October 7, when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing some 1,200 people and taking another 250 people hostage.

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