A 23-year-old Wisconsin man carrying a flamethrower, smoke grenades and fireworks during a Saturday night demonstration in Green Bay ‘dropped into the fetal position and began crying’ after he was chased down by police.
Matthew Banta of Neenah, Wisconsin, who is known as “Commander Red” in Antifa circles and is “known to be a violent Antifa member who incites violence in otherwise relatively peaceful protests,” was one of four individuals walking towards a protest with baseball bats, according to ABC2.
Green Bay police say they were called for “a whole bunch of white people with sticks, baseball bats and helmets headed… towards the police” on Walnut St. near Webster Ave.
A responding officer says he saw four individuals walking towards a protest with baseball bats. One man was wearing a metal helmet with goggles and military-style gear with multiple pouches, and was carrying an Antifa flag. When the officer pulled his squad car in front of the group, they ran away. The officer caught Banta, who was carrying the flag, and says Banta “dropped into the fetal position and began crying.” He accused the officer of lying on him; the officer replied nobody was on him. –ABC2
Banta claims he was a peaceful protester and wasn’t planning to incite a riot (with his flamethrower, smoke grenades and fireworks).
The three other individuals caught alongside Banta were trying to break into a house. When officers apprehended them, they dropped what they were carrying, with one of them telling the police that they were simply bringing items for “self-defense.”
Last month, Banta was charged in Waupaca County with second-degree recklessly endangering safety and four other charges for pointing a loaded gun at a police officer, and biting and kicking another officer.
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