A suspected member of Antifa — who was allegedly armed with a flamethrower — cried in the fetal position before his arrest during a Saturday evening protest in Green Bay, Wisconsin, according to law enforcement.
Matthew Banta, 23, is charged with obstructing an officer and two counts of felony bail jumping.
The criminal complaint says Banta “is known to be a violent Antifa member who incites violence in otherwise relatively peaceful protests.” Police say he’s known as “Commander Red.”
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.”
“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,” said Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith.
“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 added. “We determined this was happening on Washington Street. 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.”
Police said 15 protesters were arrested after the demonstration was declared unlawful.
In early August, Banta was charged with biting, kicking, and pointing firearm at a police officer at a protest in Waupaca.