Man arrested in attack on UCLA pro-Palestinian protesters won't face felony charges

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - May 1: Pro-Palestinian protestors defend themselves against a pro-Israeli supporter at an encampment at UCLA early Wednesday morning. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)
Pro-Palestinian protesters defend themselves against a pro-Israeli supporter at an encampment at UCLA early on the morning of May 1. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles)

A pro-Israel counterprotester will not face felony assault charges in connection with an alleged attack against occupants of a Palestinian solidarity encampment at UCLA last month, Dist. Atty. George Gascón's office announced Friday.

Instead, the Los Angeles district attorney's office announced that after reviewing the evidence against 18-year-old Edan On, the case was referred to the city attorney's office for a possible misdemeanor filing.

On was identified as a counterprotester at an April 30 pro-Palestinian demonstration at the UCLA campus. In widely shared videos, a masked man in a white hoodie can be seen repeatedly striking protesters with a pole. Law enforcement sources identified the man as On and video of his actions were first aired by CNN.

The UCLA Police Department interviewed witnesses and victims in connection to the violence that erupted at the encampment, reviewed security camera footage of the masked man and later identified him as On. Pro-Israeli counterprotesters armed with fireworks, gas irritants, and blunt objects violently attacked students and faculty in the encampment for hours as private security guards and campus police watched from a distance.

Read more: Four UCLA student journalists attacked by pro-Israel counterprotesters on campus

On was detained by police on May 23 at a business in Beverly Hills and booked on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon, police announced at the time. He was held in a Los Angeles County Jail on $30,000 bail and his arrest marked the first in connection to the violent scene that unfolded at UCLA.

On allegedly assaulted a person between 12:30 p.m. on April 30 to 1:30 a.m. on May 1 during the clash at UCLA, Gascón's office said in a statement.

Gascón's office reviewed the evidence in the case, but "cannot establish beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. On's conduct directly caused the victim's injury."

Gascón goes on to say that there is "no evidence to suggest that Mr. On was working in collaboration with any other individuals, and our investigation found no proof of conspiracy or any organized effort by Mr. On related to the incident."

Read more: Timeline: UCLA's night of violence before police moved in

There are no other alleged victims in the matter, the DA's office said. The city attorney's confirmed they are reviewing the case but declined to say more about the case.

"This referral aligns with our commitment to applying the law fairly and ensuring that justice is served based on the available evidence," Gascón's office said.

The DA's office is reviewing one other case involving the attacks at the UCLA encampment, but details on that matter have not been released.

Protesters erected their encampment on the UCLA campus to demand the university divest any financial ties with Israel over the country's ongoing war against Gaza in response to an Oct. 7, 2023, terrorist attack.

Following the April 30 brawl, On's mother posted an online comment about his involvement.

In a now deleted Facebook post, Sharon On-Siboni shared a photo of her son from a Fox 11 news segment at UCLA that she captioned in Hebrew, saying, “Edan went to bully the Palestinian students in the tents at UCLA and played the song that they played to the Nukhba terrorists in prison!” according to a law enforcement source.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.