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Criminal Justice

Long Beach Suspect Arrested In Stabbing At Anti-Vaccination Protest In LA

At an anti-vaccination rally in downtown LA on Aug. 14, 2021, a hand in the foreground holds up a white hand-lettered sign that says, in all capital letters, "God is my vaccine." LA City Hall towers in the background, in front of a cloudy sky.
A sign from the Aug.14 rally where the alleged stabbing took place.
(Courtesy of LAPD
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Nina Cohen, with shoulder-length brown hair, looks into the camera.
Nina Cohen
(Courtesy LAPD)

The LAPD arrested a 30-year-old Long Beach resident Wednesday night for attempted murder in the stabbing of a man during an anti-vaccination rally outside City Hall last month, according to the LAPD.

The LAPD identified the individual as Eric Cohen, but Cohen’s family and friends told the LA Times she is Nina Cohen, a transgender woman. Cohen was being held on $1 million bail, the department tweeted.

Attempted murder carries a sentence of seven years to life in prison, according to the DA’s office.

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Officials from the LAPD said it served search warrants in L.A. and Orange Counties. The investigation is ongoing.

The Aug. 14 rally was called “Stop Socialism, Choose Freedom March Against Medical Tyranny.” Counter-protestors who support vaccination mandates showed up for a “No Safe Space for Fascists” rally.

The two sides started fighting on 1st Street between City Hall and LAPD headquarters. The LAPD did not say which side Cohen was on.

The LA Times has reported the person seen perpetrating the attack was part of the counter-protest.

Video shows an individual wearing a black hoodie, black pants, a black bandana covering their face and white tennis shoes holding a knife or sharp object moments before the attack. The LAPD said at the time the individual stabbed the victim once in the upper chest area.

The victim suffered serious injuries but has since been released from the hospital.

The LAPD says the person in the photo below is Cohen.

'We're Not Going To Stand For It'

“We have imagery of a second person that appears to have been stabbed during this melee as well, and that individual has yet to step forward and be identified,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore told KTLA Thursday morning.

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The LAPD is asking anyone with information about that attack to contact the department’s Major Crimes Division.

Moore said police chiefs across the country are dealing with an increase in political violence, adding, “In L.A. we’re not going to stand for it.”

Multiple journalists were also attacked during the Aug. 14 protest, including this one.

A Black woman was attacked in almost the same place as I was during a pro-Trump rally on Jan. 6, as the U.S. Capitol was under siege. Two people were stabbed earlier this summer during an anti-transgender protest outside Wi Spa in Koreatown. There were no arrests in those attacks, either.

A leftist “activist journalist” we profiled earlier this year — Vishal Singh — was beaten up in the alley behind Harlowe Restaurant in West Hollywood as he was trying to videotape another anti-vaccination protest. The next day, another videographer who documents right-wing movements was forced to seek refuge in a Trader Joe’s as anti-vaccination protesters chased him.

This story was updated on Sept. 5, 2021 to reflect the new information about Cohen's gender.

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