Title: College Professor Charged with Felonies in Connection to Death of Jewish Protester at Dual Rally
Ventura County, California – A college professor has been charged with two felonies in connection with the death of a Jewish protester during a pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian rally. The District Attorney’s office announced the charges after a thorough investigation, which involved examining 600 pieces of evidence and interviewing 60 witnesses.
Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji, a 50-year-old computer science professor at Moorpark College, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and battery causing serious bodily injury. If convicted, Alnaji could face substantial prison time under California’s Three Strikes Law, as both felony charges carry special allegations.
The investigation team meticulously gathered video and digital footage to reconstruct a detailed sequence of events leading up to the tragic confrontation. Although the suspect’s intent to commit a slaying has been ruled out, investigators are exploring the possibility of a hate crime. While there is currently no evidence that meets the elements of a hate crime, investigators continue to search for hate speech or indications of animosity towards a specific group.
The incident unfolded during dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian rallies that took place in Thousand Oaks on November 5. The victim, Paul Kessler, engaged in a physical altercation with a pro-Palestinian protester and fell, hitting his head on the ground. He tragically passed away the following day.
Working to reconstruct the exact circumstances surrounding the incident proved challenging due to conflicting statements from witnesses. However, an autopsy confirmed the cause of death as a blunt force head injury, leading authorities to rule it a homicide.
On Thursday, authorities virtually met with Kessler’s grieving family to offer their condolences. Kessler was an accomplished professional, working in medical sales, and also taught sales and marketing at satellite colleges. Additionally, he was a pilot and had been married for 43 years, leaving behind a son.
Amidst heightened tensions stemming from the Israel-Hamas war and a surge in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents, Kessler’s tragic death adds to the growing concern. The war had severe consequences, including significant casualties and the displacement of over 1.6 million people in Gaza.
As the case moves forward, the Kessler family requests privacy as they mourn the loss of their beloved family member. The accused professor, Alnaji, has been taken into custody and is expected to be arraigned soon.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining peace and respect during polarizing events, urging communities to find common ground amidst their differences.
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