Police said a Wisconsin man known as antifa “Commander Red” cried and “dropped into the fetal position” when authorities arrested him on Saturday.
Matthew Banta of Neenah “is known to be a violent Antifa member who incites violence in otherwise relatively peaceful protests,” the criminal complaint against him said, WBAY-TV reported.
He allegedly showed up to a demonstration in Green Bay with a flamethrower, smoke grenades and fireworks.
The 23-year-old was charged Monday with two counts of felony bail jumping and one count of obstructing an officer.
The charges came days after police responded to a report at roughly 9 p.m. Saturday regarding “a whole bunch of white people with sticks, baseball bats, and helmets” walking toward a protest, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
“I don’t know who comes to a protest with a baseball bat for anything other than criminal or illegal activity,” Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith told WBAY.
The responding officer pulled his car in front of Banta — who was carrying a flag emblazoned with the symbol of the loosely organized leftist coalition of so-called “anti-fascist” groups known as antifa — and three other people, but they proceeded to run away, authorities said.
The officer recounted that he caught Banta, at which point Banta “dropped into the fetal position and began crying.”
Banta acknowledged he was heading to the Green Bay protest but denied he was planning to start a riot.
Authorities said his three companions were later caught trying to enter a house, but the person inside wouldn’t let them in.
Fifteen people in total were arrested Saturday after police deemed the protest unlawful.
“An unlawful assembly is three or more people who gather in such a manner where property damage, or personal injury is likely to occur,” Smith said.
“What was happening was a large group of people had blocked traffic on the street had engaged in throwing a bottle at somebody, were pulling up manhole covers off the street and were blocking traffic.”
Banta had been charged with pointing a loaded firearm at an officer and kicking and biting an officer during a protest in Waupaca County earlier in August, WBAY reported.
He posted $10,000 cash bond on the condition that he couldn’t possess a dangerous weapon.
“It’s worrisome when people associated with antifa come here to Green Bay from out of town for the purpose of protesting here or for the purposes of committing violent acts,” Smith said.
However, Black Lives United – Green Bay doesn’t seem concerned with the presence of antifa demonstrators or other people who show up to peaceful protests to incite violence.
“BLU is not discouraged by the way folks are grieving…we are in this together,” a Monday post on its Facebook page reads.
“We don’t see rioting as taking away from our message because it actually reinforces the state of emergency that we are in.
“Folks out in the streets screaming #BlackLivesMatter and their names — we see you and the risk you are taking on behalf of all of us.”
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