Officer Suspended After Confronting Campus Protesters on Video


City University of New York suspended one of its police officers following a confrontation with pro-Palestinian protesters during its commencement ceremony on Thursday.

The College of Staten Island was holding its graduation for over 2,000 students when a clash occurred between protesters and officers. Sgt. Donald Girard was recorded on camera yelling at the protesters, with other officers behind him, none of whom had weapons drawn. The protesters responded, accusing him of supporting genocide.

“I support genocide — I support killing all of you guys; how about that?” Girard is heard saying in the video circulating on social media. In response to a protester who yelled, “f*** your mother,” Girard repeated the phrase back to the protester.

CSI President Timothy Lynch released a statement on Friday expressing regret that the incident “may have a lasting impact on many in our community” and offered counseling for those involved.

“We want to be clear that the offensive language used by this officer does not reflect the views or values of the College of Staten Island, CUNY, or our dedicated Public Safety staff of over 50 officers. We deeply regret that this incident occurred on such an important day for our graduates and their families,” Lynch’s statement read. “We are conducting a detailed investigation and review of the incident to determine further appropriate action.”

Police presence at various commencement ceremonies has increased nationwide amid protests calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Most mid-commencement protests have occurred without incident, as students have merely walked out of speeches given by individuals such as comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA).

As the school year concludes, most encampments in support of Palestinians have been dismantled. Police have reportedly arrested up to 2,300 protesters who refused to leave campuses, many of whom have been found to have no affiliation with the universities.

Jenny Goldsberry
Jenny Goldsberry
Jenny Goldsberry covers social media and trending news. She’s a 2020 Brigham Young University graduate with a major in communications and minor in Japanese. She was born in Utah and has previous newsroom experience at the Salt Lake Tribune and Utah’s NPR station.

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