Veteran Independent Journalist Attacked, Held Captive at UCLA During Pro-Hamas Protests, Cops Do Nothing

While the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors was proclaiming Tuesday as “American Traitor Day” (Jane Fonda Day), violence and chaos were unfolding on the campus of UCLA, where Anthony Cabassa was attempting to cover the pro-Hamas protestors on the campus. However, the terrorist sympathizers at UCLA had other plans for Cabassa and quickly moved in to surround him, and it all went south from there. After it was all said and done, Cabassa was physically assaulted, and for a short period, he was held captive by a large mob of what were then considered to be rioters.


Anthony Cabassa is a Southern California native and veteran who has been an independent journalist for several years now. Cabassa covers the latest in policies, politics, and breaking news on “Informed With Anthony.” He is no stranger to protests and the dangers that come with them, and in this case, it was no different. Media attention is being directed at college campuses all over the country, where pro-Hamas rioters have taken over campus buildings, established illegal occupation zones, and established borders to the zones that rioters enforced. So Cabassa did what any good independent journalist would do: He went to the source of the action to report the news. 

As Cabassa and his fellow reporter, Cameron Higby, made their way around campus, he noticed that uniformed campus security staff had established a perimeter around an encampment of protestors. Cabassa said that they told him that the protestors had control of the area and they would not let him in. The pro-Hamas protestors had erected “seven-foot high plywood walls to keep people out” and had protestors enforcing a “border” checkpoint that controlled entry into the encampment, even going as far as to establish a media check-in station to allow what protestors said were media that were sympathetic to their side or that “would paint them in a good picture.” At approximately 1 PM, Cabassa was confronted by one protestor who was upset that Cabassa would not stop filming the area. 


I ended up making my way inside. At which point I was harassed, I was falsely imprisoned, my movement was restricted. I also had my property stolen from them. I have a battery charger that actually belonged to my son that was taken and never returned. I actually had let him [Higby] borrow my my charger. He needed to charge his phone. And he just came back to me. He’s like, hey man, I’m really sorry to tell you this, but they just yanked it from my hand.

It was then that Cabassa told authorities about the incident. He was told by the security staff to call the administration, who then told him to call the police, who then told him the administration had ordered them “not to engage” and that there was nothing else that could be done. 

I told security, hey, you know, my property was just stolen. Can you guys help me retrieve it? And they’re like, “Oh, we are not allowed to engage. You’re gonna have to talk to school faculty.” I went to them and they’re like you’re gonna have to talk to UCPD, then the UCPD [officers] tell me “you’re gonna have to talk to staff” and I’m like, well, staff just told me to talk to you guys.


The UCLA Police Department and other campus security personnel were allegedly given orders to stand down and not take any action to protect Cabassa and other innocent bystanders getting harassed and or attacked by the mob.

Cabassa returned later in the evening on Tuesday and said that the number of protestors and rioters grew, and the mood became increasingly hostile. The Chancellor declared the encampment unlawful; however, security was still trying to set up a perimeter to protect the protestors and their encampment. 

I think that the reason they did that is because they’ve been receiving a lot of negative press about the encampment. KTLA 5 and other reporters trying to gain access into the public area. A huge scuffle broke out, pro-Israel supporters have always kind of been present, but they were growing in size and, and tensions were just really, really high. They were kind of demanding security like, look, if the school chancellor declared this encampment unlawful, why are you still setting up a perimeter and protecting these guys?


When darkness fell on the campus, the presence of any security personnel or UCLA police officers was gone; they had all left their posts and fallen back to an unknown and unseen location. Cabassa was able to record aerial drone footage of protestors forming large groups that were “training” each other how to fight police officers in any future attempt to clear the campus. 

Cabassa said that campus security officers eventually fled the area, also stating that chemical weapons were used against the security staff before they fled. Cabassa and other journalists in the area said that they were told by unknown protestors that some of the pro-Hamas rioters had armed themselves with guns to protect themselves if and when police officers “attacked.” 

So the other other reporters on the ground there were told by either some of the protesters or somebody in the crowd that the pro Hamas pro Palestinian protesters were arming in themselves and preparing for a fight basically. Like with firearms. They were in the the library which was nearby to the encampment but what I will say is, I mean, both sides were definitely armed. 

But for five hours, just random people, random civilians with weapons and bloodied. Tensions are high with nothing but hate for each other and wanting to inflict as much bodily damage to each other as they can. No uniforms, no real distinction, you know. They were just allowed to go out there and do whatever they wanted to each other for about five hours. That was the scariest part because there was just no law enforcement. Security was still there, but they were just sitting on the side and when I asked them what’s going on, they’re like, “We’ve been ordered to stand down. We have no authority to make arrests. We have no authority to detain anybody.” They kind of looked at me like buddy, what do you want us to do, you know?


In the early morning hours on Wednesday, LAPD officers, along with CHP officers who were there due to a mutual aid request from the LAPD, began to form up in positions for what would eventually be an operation to attempt to clear the rioters and protestors from the campus. 

Cabassa and Higby, thankfully, were unharmed in the incident and remained throughout the night and early morning to watch and cover the events as they unfolded. He also plans to discuss any legal remedies with his lawyer, for any possible litigation against UCLA for failing to intervene in his incident to secure his safety and property.


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