California police are appealing for videos and photos from the pro-Palestine protest that led to the death of a 69-year-old Jewish man on Sunday. Paul Kessler, 69, died on Sunday after the protest in Thousand Oaks. Witnesses claimed he’d been hit in the head with a megaphone by a pro-Palestine protester.
At a press conference today, police said they could not confirm whether he’d been beaten as claimed, but confirmed the cause of his death was a fatal blow to the back of the head that happened when he fell to the ground. It’s unclear whether Kessler was pushed, or how violent the altercation became. His injuries included non-life-threatening blows to the side of the face in addition to brain swelling and hemorrhaging and a skull fracture.
The 58-year-old suspect has not yet been named or arrested, but police say he is cooperating with their investigation. Yesterday, he was taken into custody while police carried out a search warrant at his house in Moorpark. He was released after the search was completed. He is among those who called 911 for help when Kessler fell and started to bleed.
The incident occurred at 3.22 pm on Sunday. By 1.10 am the following morning, Kessler had been pronounced dead in the hospital. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide, with blunt force trauma as the cause, but emphasized today that the determination does not necessarily equate with a crime. ‘It is a medical, legal determination. ‘It simply states that the death occurred at the hands of another person… [but] homicide does not indicate that a crime has been committed.
‘That is a determination to be made by the DA’s office,’ Chief Medical Examiner Christopher Young said. While officials gave their press conference, Kessler’s friends gathered at the location of the protest to pay their respects. He had been photographed just minutes before his death proudly holding an Israeli flag. He and his wife Cheryl attended the event to peacefully counter the Palestinian protesters there.
His injuries did nothing to stop those who had turned out in support of Palestine. Videos show them continuing to chant anti-Israel remarks as Kessler was lifted into an ambulance and taken away. Event organizers then took to social media to warn against ‘irresponsible assumptions’ being made online.
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