A Wisconsin man who was caught on his way to a “peaceful protest” in Green Bay last weekend with a flamethrower, smoke grenades, and fireworks, cried in a “fetal position” when police caught him after he attempted to flee the scene.
According to WBAY, Matthew Banta, 23, is “known to be a violent Antifa member who incites violence in otherwise relatively peaceful protests.” Banta, who goes by the name “Commander Red” in the Antifa group he “controls,” was charged with obstructing an officer and two counts of felony bail jumping, according to the criminal complaint.
Green Bay said they were called for “a whole bunch of white people with sticks, baseball bats and helmets headed… towards the police” on Walnut Street near Webster Avenue on Saturday night.
“I don’t know who comes to a protest with a baseball bat for anything other than criminal or illegal activity,” said Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith.
The report from WBAY indicated that, “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.”
Banta did admit that he was going to attend the protest in Green Bay, but said he was not planning to incite a riot. The Brown County Court Commissioner set a $2,500 cash bond during his initial appearance for this behavior on Monday.
“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,” Chief Smith said.
Ironically – or not – this is not the first time Banta has been arrested for inciting a riot and threatening lives. Apparently, “Commander Red” was also accused by a police officer of pointing a loaded rifle at him and kicking him during a Waupaca “protest” on August 1.
The “peaceful protester” Banta was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment with use of a dangerous weapon when he pointed a loaded firearm at an officer, battery to a law enforcement officer when he bit an officer, battery to a law enforcement officer for kicking an officer, resisting an officer with use of a dangerous weapon, and finally – disorderly conduct with use of a dangerous weapon. It is also to be noted that a bullet was in the rifle’s chamber and the police found 117 rounds of ammunition, and an 8-inch straight blade knife on Banta as well.
Banta posted $10,000 cash bond after the August 1 arrest with a bond condition being that he could not be in possession of a dangerous weapon. Guess we will have to wait for that bond to be revoked…