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Top Cop Flip Flop: Chell Now Calls Columbia Student Protesters ‘Vile’

Narratives can change a lot in a week. Plus, more links for your weekend.

NYPD Chief John Chell.

NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

Just last week, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell all but threw Columbia administrators under the bus when he admitted that the pro-Palestine student protesters the school's president had called on the NYPD to arrest "were peaceful, offered no resistance whatsoever, and were saying what they wanted to say in a peaceful manner." 

Now that the NYPD is ramping up its use of force at campus protests, including pepper spraying protesters and at least one student journalist, Chell seems to have shaken off his brief moment of being reasonable, and is pushing the usual narrative. To wit: his testy online exchange with New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

"Not only did Columbia make the horrific decision to mobilize NYPD on their own students, but the units called in have some of the most violent reputations on the force," Ocasio-Cortez posted on X on Wednesday afternoon, remarking on a video of NYPD counterterrorism units arriving at Columbia University. She continued, "NYPD had promised the city they wouldn’t deploy SRG to protests. So why are these counterterror units here?" 

"Truly amazing!" Chell countered at 6:41 a.m. on Thursday morning, posting as usual from the official NYPD Chief of Patrol account. "Columbia decided to hold its students accountable to the laws of the school." From there, Chell continued to soliloquize: "They are seeing the consequences of their actions. Something these kids were most likely never taught. Good SAT scores and self-entitlement do not supersede the law. I am sure you would agree that we have to teach them these valuable life skills."

Ah, the John Chell we all know and love is back. Now it seems the very students that Chell previously said "offered no resistance" and "were saying what they wanted to say in a peaceful manner" were actually deploying, as he put it, "hateful anti-Semitic speech and vile language towards our cops." Journalists who have actually been to the encampment make it sound peaceful and endearingly nerdy, with rules against littering and engaging counterprotesters, and also a nut zone:

It almost makes it seem like you can just make up the idea of protesting students saying anything you want to justify violently arresting them. But Chell has a well-documented case of poster's disease (and a questionable e-commerce business run on City time). He's seemingly unable to stop his fingers from unleashing, at length, whatever thoughts are on his mind at any particular moment. (This is, admittedly, not a problem unique to Chell within the NYPD leadership.) Chell chided that Ocasio-Cortez should "rethink [her] comments to a simple thank you to the NYPD and hate has no place in our society." 

Finishing with a flourish, Chell ended tirade against AOC with "Lack of accountability = consequences✅" and "Hate from anyone, anywhere has no place in our city and country.✅" Both rather rich sentiments for a cop who got away with shooting a Black man to death in 2008.

 Links = informed.✅

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