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CUNY Officer Donald Girard Suspended After Supporting Genocide

by Mohammed Ahmed

A sergeant with the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Department of Public Safety has been suspended following a heated altercation with pro-Palestinian protesters during a graduation ceremony at the College of Staten Island. The incident occurred on Thursday and was captured on video by journalist Hebh Jamal, who posted it on social media.

The officer, identified as Donald Girard, was recorded making inflammatory remarks in response to the protesters. The footage shows Girard, whose uniform reads “Sgt. D. Girard,” engaging with the demonstrators in a contentious exchange:

PROTESTER: You support genocide!

GIRARD: Yes, I do.

PROTESTER: You support genocide!

GIRARD: I support genocide. I support killing all you guys. How about that?

PROTESTER: You wanna kill us?! I have you on camera! I have you on camera!

PROTESTER: You’re a CUNY cop.

GIRARD: Fuck your mother!

Following this exchange, Girard was escorted away from the scene by other officials. The incident drew immediate backlash and condemnation from the college administration.

“We condemn the offensive language used by a CUNY officer during an otherwise wonderful commencement celebrating our 2,000 graduates,” a spokesman for the College of Staten Island told the New York Daily News. “His words don’t reflect the values of the College of Staten Island or the 50 officers on our Public Safety staff.” The spokesman also confirmed that Girard has been suspended pending a review of the incident.

The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the College of Staten Island have demanded a formal apology from the school and are calling for Girard’s termination. “CSI SJP will be exploring all legal options available to hold Girard accountable for their violence against CSI students and their families,” the group stated.

The video of the incident has sparked widespread outrage and discussions about the role of public safety officers at educational institutions, especially in the context of political protests and free speech. The altercation at the College of Staten Island has highlighted the tensions surrounding pro-Palestinian activism on college campuses and the responses from security personnel.

As the review of the incident continues, the administration at the College of Staten Island faces increasing pressure to address the concerns of the student body and ensure that such incidents do not recur. The situation has also drawn attention to the broader issues of campus safety, freedom of expression, and the responsibilities of public safety officers in maintaining a respectful and secure environment for all students and staff.

The college’s decision to suspend Girard is seen as a step towards accountability, but the demands for further action indicate that the repercussions of this incident are likely to continue. The administration’s response and the outcomes of the ongoing review will be closely watched by students, faculty, and advocates for justice and free speech.

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