A Wisconsin man who prides himself on being an Antifa “commander” broke down crying in the “fetal position” after police nabbed him heading to a protest in Green Bay last weekend, armed with a flamethrower, smoke grenades, and fireworks.
Matthew Banta, 23, was arrested and charged with obstructing an officer and two counts of felony bail jumping, according to WBAY-TV. The station described Banta as someone who is known for being a “violent Antifa member who incites violence in otherwise relatively peaceful protests,” citing a past criminal complaint against him.
The station added that in Antifa circles, Banta is known as “Commander Red.”
Green Bay police told reporters that they had been called on Saturday night for “a whole bunch of white people with sticks, baseball bats and helmets headed…towards the police.”
“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 said.
When one responding officer reached the scene, he saw four people walking toward a protest with baseball bats. He could see that one of the males was wearing a metal helmet with goggles and military-style gear with multiple pouches as he carried an Antifa flag.
When the officer pulled up to them in his squad car, the group all tried to flee on foot. The cop was able to apprehend Banta, who was the person carrying the Antifa flag. Once the young man was caught, the officer said Banta “dropped into the fetal position and began crying.” He then accused the cop of lying on him, to which the officer responded by saying that nobody was on him.
Though Banta admitted that he was on his way to the Green Bay protest, he denied that he had plans to incite a riot. During Banta’s first court appearance on Monday, a Brown County Court Commissioner set a $2,500 cash bond for him.
“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.