On August 29, Matthew Banta, 23, known as “Commander Red” in Antifa circles, was arrested in Green Bay while part of a violent mob of Antifa militants who were wielding weapons like metal pipes and baseball bats. Banta himself was wearing military-style gear, goggles, a metal helmet, several pouches and multiple bags. He was also carrying an Antifa flag.
Toward the end of the riot, the Green Bay police finally had enough. They called the demonstration an unlawful assembly and proceeded to break up the crowd. Right before Banta himself was arrested, the mob was “heading toward the police” in a threatening manner.
As the police continued dispersing the mob, Banta and three of his Antifa comrades tried to seek shelter at a nearby house. The resident of the house told officers that he did not know who the rioters were, which prompted officers to arrest all four of them.
As soon as officers approached Banta, he “dropped into the fetal position and began crying.” He also accused the arresting officer of crushing him by lying on top of him, but the officer replied that nobody was on top of him at the time.
When Banta's belongings were searched, the criminal complaint against him stated that he was found carrying two “military grade five-minute” smoke grenades, two firework rockets, a bundle of bottle rockets banded together with a plastic wrap, a flamethrower with a propane tank and medical equipment, Antifa stickers and several pouches filled with rocks.
When Banta was questioned by the officer, he denied trying to incite a riot and said that he was merely there to go to the peaceful protest. He also denied knowing that the event had been declared an unlawful assembly.
During his hearing several days later, he disputed the arresting officer's claim that he had a flamethrower. He called it a “hand torch” tool that did not have a propulsion system.
As more conservatives and patriots fight back against Antifa and Black Lives Matter, Democrats and mainstream media alike will ramp up their attacks against these heroes. Learn about one patriot by listening to this episode of the Health Ranger Report, a podcast by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, as he talks about Kyle Rittenhouse, the young American hero who defended himself against Antifa and Black Lives Matter thugs in Kenosha.
“Matthew was brought to the front of my squad, where Matthew was identified as ‘Commander Red’ from an informational bulletin sent out through department email,” wrote the arresting officer in his criminal complaint. “Matthew is known to be a violent Antifa member who incites violence in otherwise relatively peaceful protests.”
Banta was charged with two counts of felony bail jumping and one count of obstructing an officer. He appeared on Monday in Brown County court. Bond was set at $2,500 cash and he has to go back for another hearing on September 9.
Court records show that Banta was arrested in Waupaca County, to the northwest of his home county of Winnebago, earlier in August. He was charged with use of a weapon, second-degree recklessly endangering public safety and two counts of battery or threat to judge, prosecutor or law enforcement officer. He was released on a $10,000 bond with the condition that he cannot possess dangerous weapons and he cannot commit any crime. (Related: BLM, Antifa terrorism was coordinated coast to coast by “violent instigators,” says AG Barr.)
Banta's three Antifa comrades were also arrested, but later released without charged. Eleven other Antifa rioters were arrested during the dispersal.
“I think 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 Police Chief Andrew Smith when asked about the influx of Antifa militants coming to his city.