First Arrest in UCLA Overnight Encampment Attack

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We have our first arrest tied to the vigilante attacks on the UCLA Gaza encampment on April 30th. In some ways it illustrates how slow and incremental the process has been. The arrestee is an 18-year-old high schooler named Edan On. He appears to be either Israeli or Israeli-American. I base this in part on his name but more on the fact that his identity was originally uncovered in part by his mother’s boasting about his role in the attack in Hebrew on Facebook. (Many American Jews know some Hebrew, or even a lot of Hebrew. But they don’t tend to use it as a casual posting language on social media unless they’re from Israel or have a family background in Israel.)

On’s role was first hinted at by cybersleuths reviewing social media — much as we saw after January 6th. His identity was first confirmed by CNN in a lengthy deep-dive analysis of social media and video evidence published on May 16th. In key respects, the way On’s identity was uncovered shows just how complicated it will be to find the culprits through this kind of social media analysis. As the CNN piece makes clear, On’s ID was based largely on the fact that he removed his mask at a key point and someone got video of him in that moment.

Not everyone is going to make that mistake. And not everyone is going to be unlucky enough to walk in front of someone who is taking a video at just that moment.

On, who attacked encampment protestors with a long white pole, has been booked on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon.

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