A young bandana-wearing man forced his way into the crowd with a comrade, laughing with excitement, “Oh dude, I’m gonna fuck this Nazi UP!” He tried to land a torso kick, but was just out of reach.
The number of eager assailants grew, and the double standard of the moment became astonishing. The self-styled anti-authoritarians, who righteously (and understandably) complain about excessive use of force by police, were seemingly re-enacting some of this country’s worst episodes of police violence, on an unarmed civilian who by all appearances was not a white supremacist and who was decidedly outnumbered. Bystanders, peaceful protesters, and reporters shouted for the man’s release. Suddenly, from behind, someone knocked my camera out of my right hand, then did the same to my phone, which was in my left. I turned around to see a black leather boot stomping my phone (it survived—thanks, Otter case!), while another antifa picked up my camera, hurled it into the air, and got in my face. “No fucking pictures!”
Now I had a choice to make: Walk away, or take his bait—and take a beating.