A Wisconsin man previously arrested for pointing a loaded rifle at a police officer was apprehended on his way to a riot carrying a flamethrower and smoke grenades, according to police.
Matthew Banta, 23, is “known to be a violent Antifa member who incites violence in otherwise relatively peaceful protests,” WBAY-TV reports, citing a police criminal complaint. Banta is charged with obstructing an officer and two counts of felony bail jumping, local news reports.
Green Bay police were summoned to the scene at Walnut Street near Webster Avenue Saturday night responding to “a whole bunch of white people with sticks, baseball bats and helmets headed toward the police,” cops told local news.
“I don’t know who comes to protest with a baseball bat for anything other than criminal or illegal activity,” Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith said.
Police report four men in military gear, carrying weapons and an Antifa flag ran from responding officers when one officer caught Banta who, the responding officer says, “dropped into the fetal position and began crying,” according to WBAY. He then accused the officer of lying on him, but the officer replied no one was on him, the report says.
Banta denied he was planning to incite a riot or violence. Brown County Court Comissioner set a $2,500 cash bond during his initial appearance in court Monday. The suspect is reportedly from Neenah, Wis., about 40 miles southwest of Green Bay and went by the name “Red Commander” within local Antifa ranks.
On Aug. 1, police say Banta bit and kicked a police officer and was reportedly charged with second-degree recklessly endangering, use of a dangerous weapon, battery to a law enforcement officer, biting an officer, kicking an officer, resisting an officer, and disorderly conduct at a riot in Waupaca, Wis., according to The Blaze.
A criminal complaint from that incident noted a bullet was found in the chamber of rifle in his possession, along with 117 rounds of ammunition, and an eight-inch straight blade knife on a sheath on his belt, reports WBAY.
On Tuesday, President Trump visited ransacked portions of Kenosha, Wis., near Chicago, after left-wing rioters, many from out of town, torched and demolished several local businesses. Wednesday morning, Trump took note of the blubbering Antifa and tweeted a news story about Banta, writing “We catch them all!”
We catch them all! https://t.co/YuDZ1wqekL
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 2, 2020
Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News host told Tucker Carlson Monday the administration would begin looking into funding and organization for domestic terrorist groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Of the 175 arrested during the Kenosha riots, 102 lived outside Kenosha, from 44 different cities, according to The Blaze.