Scuffle at L.A. pro-Israel rally prompts officer to fire his gun

(JTA) — A federal officer fired his gun after a violent confrontation in Los Angeles between several Palestinian men and participants at a pro-Israel rally.

Nobody was hurt by the gunshot.

More than 1,200 people attended the rally Sunday afternoon in front of the federal building in West Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

As the rally was wrapping up, some men who were driving by in a pickup truck displaying a Palestinian flag got in a fight with some of the pro-Israel demonstrators. The Palestinian men allegedly hit some of the pro-Israel with what were variously described as sticks or a flagpole.

The men, who were described by a friend as Palestinians living in Anaheim, Calif., returned to their truck and drove off after the melee was broken up.

A Federal Protective Service officer discharged his gun, reportedly in the direction of the truck. Four men were later stopped and detained after they left the scene of the demonstration. The four men were booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reported.

A man who had been in one of the vehicles but was not arrested told NBC Los Angeles that the melee started after a Palestinian flag was ripped from a truck and stomped on, and the passengers in the vehicle attempted to retrieve the flag.

Speakers at the pro-Israel demonstration included Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Roz Rothstein co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs; Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer; and Israeli actress and activist Noa Tishby.

A counter demonstration of about 200 pro-Palestinian activists was held across the street from the pro-Israel demonstration.

The federal officer was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation of his weapon discharge as per his agency’s policy.

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