Prosecutor’s Office Declines to Charge Antifa Member Who Attempted to Chain College Republicans in a Room
The Antifa member who attempted to chain a group of College Republicans in a room last month, leading to the conservatives performing a citizen’s arrest on him, will not face any charges for his actions.
Ezra Benner, 18, was arrested after he attempted to lock the group in a room at the University of Washington-Seattle.
The incident took place while the College Republicans were hosting a speaker from the Operation Cold Front YouTube channel. A local Antifa group had been calling for disruption of the event on Facebook, urging people to attend with whistles or other noise makers so they could drown out the speaker.
“A few days before the event, we received a tip that Antifa was calling for people to come disrupt the meeting, but we weren’t too worried about that since that type of thing happens all the time,” UW College Republicans President Chevy Swanson told Campus Reform.
The post from Emerald City Antifa said “there’s space for 100 or so people, but for those who show up, some useful tactics might to sit in using large items that take up additional seats, maybe with headphones in so you don’t have to hear their garbage, or noise demo tactics such as whistles to make it difficult for them to speak over.” They added, “if you’re able, show up to deplatform.”
Approximately 45 minutes into the event, a masked man went up to the main window and began to tie a chain around the door handles to lock the attendees inside. Swanson was able to realize what was happening and push the door open before it could be locked.
Attendees then chased the masked man down and performed a citizen’s arrest, detaining him for approximately five minutes, until police arrived.
The incident was captured on video by Operation Cold Front. The incident begins approximately 49 minutes into the video.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office told Campus Reform that they will not be charging Benner.
“We are declining to prosecute…because, based on the facts presented, it is unlikely that we would be able to prove he intentionally committed the crime of disorderly conduct beyond a reasonable doubt…While we can speculate, the purpose of the suspect’s use of the chain is not entirely clear since there were other doorways/exits in the class that were visible and obvious,” the prosecuting attorney’s office said.
“Furthermore, the meeting itself was not in any way disrupted except to the extent necessary to immediately interrupt, chase and apprehend the suspect. While it is fair to say that the suspect had formed some plan, it is not at all clear from his actions what that plan was. The plan was fully and completely interrupted from the very moment it began,” the prosecuting attorney’s statement added.