A man was arrested on Monday after attempting to chain the doors to a College Republicans event in a classroom at the University of Washington. The move, which appeared to be an attempt to lock the conservatives inside the classroom, failed, as the speaker’s personal security members and students forced the doors open. The man acted after an Antifa call to action to disrupt the event.
The College Republicans group at the University of Washington (UW) hosted an event on Monday featuring YouTuber Saleem Juma and his co-host Dion Thompson, who are known for their conservative comedy YouTube channel, Operation Cold Front, where they post videos commenting on recent events and politics, as well as their “man on the street” interviews.
The suspect — who was later identified as 18-year-old Ezra Benner in a police report obtained by Breitbart News — was arrested on Monday after allegedly attempting to chain the doors to the event. Benner was issued a citation “for the crime of disorderly conduct” and the citation was referred to the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to the police report, the physical evidence collected from Benner was a chain and padlock, as well as a balaclava — the headgear similar to a ski mask often worn by Antifa members.
The incident was caught on camera. You can watch it — as well as the full event featuring Juma and Thompson — below:
“Everything happened really fast,” said UW College Republicans chapter president Chevy Swanson to Breitbart News, “When I noticed someone messing with the door, I realized what was going on, and that the best solution in that moment was to open the door and not let him do it.”
Swanson, along with a few others, managed to open the doors before the perpetrator could successfully chain the door closed.
Zac Staggs, who was present at the event as one of Juma’s personal security members, told Breitbart News that he found Benner with a lock in his hand as he and members of a Proud Boys group detained the suspect while waiting for UW campus police to arrive.
“I was doing security for [Juma] when we heard chains getting put on the doors, we pushed the doors open before he could lock them,” said Staggs, “He still had the lock in his hand when we got to him. The police showed up minutes later, and that’s when I handed the lock to the officer who arrested the guy.”
Staggs added that while they waited for police to arrive, Benner allegedly “shouted at female students” who were present as bystanders, demanding that they “fight the guys so that he could run away.”
“He kept shouting, ‘can you please fight these guys so that I can escape,’ over and over again at the female students,” said Staggs, who added that the students had decided to call the police for them instead.
Thank you for Sharing!! @MrAndyNgo
We must stand against Antifa Terrorism together no matter Liberal or Conservative. I COMPLETELY stand against Violence. Will Liberals join me in Condemning Left Wing Violence? https://t.co/XSmeCVMxWf
— The Muslim Republican (@RealSaleemJuma) June 5, 2019
Meanwhile, a writer for UW’s student newspaper, the Daily, had a different take on the incident, deeming the conservative students as the aggressors in the affair, claiming that “a group of MAGA-hat-wearing men” had attempted to perform a “citizen’s arrest,” which in turn, had allegedly interrupted a nearby “picnic put on by a queer student group.”
“We invited [Juma and Thompson] to speak at UW because they are having a lot of success with their YouTube channel,” said Swanson, “They have a lot of good man-on-the-street content. It was just a lighthearted topic that we figured we could end the semester on.”
Swanson also noted that he thought it would be interesting to hear Juma speak about his perspective as a Muslim conservative, as well as Thompson’s perspective as a black conservative.
“I aim to make people think critically about these issues,” said Juma to Breitbart News, who added that while the suspect could have just been trying to pull a prank, one can never be too sure of his intentions, given today’s political climate.
“There were high school students in the audience,” added Juma, “some as young as 14 years old.”
It was also noted that the local “Emerald City Antifa” group had called for their members to “deplatform” the event in a Facebook post over the weekend.
“We’re not afraid of these people, we’re going to continue doing our videos,” said Juma, “I’m not afraid of Antifa, they can shoot me, stab me, dox me online, but they can’t shake my patriotism, and they cant shake my spirit.”
“We will continue to fight them,” he added, “with cameras, microphones, memes, and jokes.”