Jewish protester killed at Westlake rally

On Nov. 5, a protest took place on Westlake and Thousand Oaks Boulevards concerning the Israel-Hamas war, and on Nov. 6, a man died from injuries sustained at said protest.

Paul Kessler,age 69, was protesting as a part of the pro-Israel group when he was struck over the head by a megaphone after an altercation with Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji, a protestor with the Free-Palestine protest. This caused him to fall on the ground and sustain blunt force trauma to the head. Kessler was immediately transported to the hospital, where he was conscious but eventually succumbed to his injuries at one a.m. the next day. Dr. Chris Young, Ventura County’s chief medical examiner, revealed that the cause of death was from the blunt force injuries sustained after non-lethal face injuries.

During the protest, officials had asked protestors who were in support of Israel to peacefully protest on the opposite side of the street as the protestors who were attending a Free Palestine rally in the same area. Alnaji, Moorpark College professor, allegedly did not abide by officials’ request to remain separated from other protestors. There are contradicting stories of the event, one side accounting for the man purposefully striking Kessler and the other saying that it was an accident.

Alnaji was taken into custody and was a part of the homicide investigation. The police received a warrant to search his house, but were unable to find any evidence that would support the idea of premeditation. The investigation of a homicide led Alnaji to plead not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges, yet, was still charged with this crime.