The recent arrest of a top antifa terrorist sparks hope that law enforcement will finally begin to probe the radical left. Will some measure of justice finally be brought to the radical left?
By John Friend
A prominent leader of the Philadelphia-based antifa movement was recently charged with crimes relating to an assault on a number of United States Marine Corps reservists that took place on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 17, near a “We the People” rally at Independence Mall in the City of Brotherly Love.
The rally, which was organized primarily on social media, attempted to bring together a variety of patriotic, pro-America organizations and individuals concerned about the future of the country. As is typical of conservative rallies, counterprotesters showed up to demonstrate against the rally, including a number of individuals affiliated with the antifa movement, which is known for violently confronting and assaulting its political opponents at public events.
According to the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD), a group of counterprotesters confronted and attacked multiple Marine Corps reservists near the “We the People” rally around 3:20 p.m., accusing the reservists of being “Nazis” and “white supremacists.” Following the verbal confrontation, the reservists were sprayed with mace and then violently assaulted with punches and kicks by the counterprotesters. One counterprotester allegedly stole a reservist’s cell phone during the violent assault before the entire group fled the scene following their unprovoked attack.
The PPD issued a call for help from the public in identifying the individuals responsible for the violent assault on the reservists, publishing a short video captured at the event that featured many of the attackers. Soon thereafter, Philadelphia police announced they had arrested one of the suspects: Tom Keenan, a man well-known for his involvement and leadership role in the antifa movement.
Keenan, a prominent 33-year-old activist and far-left-wing organizer who had counterprotested other right-wing events in the past, including the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. late last summer, turned himself in to police last week, Philly Mag reported. Keenan was charged with two counts each of criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, simple assault, and reckless endangerment.
Keenan was not charged with robbery, and other suspects believed to have been involved in the violent assault are still at large. After posting bail, Keenan was released from police custody and is currently awaiting a preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 6.
Keenan was previously arrested in 2007 after counterprotesting a purported Ku Klux Klan rally at a city park near Philadelphia’s city hall. At the time, he was charged with criminal conspiracy, institutional vandalism, resisting arrest, and criminal mischief before entering into a plea deal.
Keenan eventually pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct, and the rest of the charges were dropped.
According to Christopher Cantwell, a popular libertarian-leaning radio host who attended and participated in the Unite the Right rally last summer, Keenan “was actively assaulting people” during the civil rights rally in Charlottesville, including pepper spraying rally-goers.
Keenan’s associate, Tom Massey, yet another prominent activist with the antifa movement in Philadelphia, is also allegedly connected with the assault on the Marine Corps reservists and is currently being investigated by police. Massey also attended the Unite the Right rally and, according to Cantwell, “threw the first punches that ignited all the violence of that weekend.”
Thus far, few if any of the far-left-wing counterprotesters who engaged in unprovoked violence against the right-wing rally goers at the Unite the Right rally have been investigated and prosecuted, while countless conservatives and right-wingers, including Cantwell himself, have been pursued and arrested by law enforcement authorities.
Cantwell and others have provided law enforcement officials, including the FBI, with detailed information relating to the far-left-wing political violence carried out during the Unite the Right rally, yet officials have largely refused to move forward with further investigations or prosecutions. Many people are hoping the recent assault in Philadelphia will finally bring at least some of the radical left-wing terrorists, who have been openly engaging in premeditated acts of political violence, to justice.
“This is a slam dunk case,” Brad Griffin, an independent journalist, blogger, and activist with the League of the South, recently wrote. “He attacked a group of Marines. He was almost certainly behind the attack on Philadelphia police at the Blue Lives Matter rally in August. He is on video starting the violence in Charlottesville. He has attempted to intimidate people at their private homes. Undoubtedly, there are all kinds of other charges lurking in his criminal record.”
“Keenan’s arrest and prosecution will hopefully land him behind bars for several years, thus making Philly safer and creating space for free speech on Philly’s streets, something that Keenan made it his personal mission to crush by any means necessary,” Mike Peinovich, co-host of the popular radio program “The Daily Shoah,” who also attended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, stated on Twitter in reaction to Keenan’s arrest.
Will some measure of justice finally be brought to the radical left? Their brazen acts of political violence and terrorism must be addressed in order to begin re-establishing the rule of law and traditional political norms in American society.
John Friend is a freelance writer based in California.