Two US Marine Reservists testified against the Antifa members who attacked them in Philadelphia last month, appearing in the courtroom in full uniform for a fiery testimony on Thursday morning.
Marines Alejandro Godinez and Luis Torres spoke to the court about an incident that took place on November 17 in Old City, when several Antifa members attacked the Marines, who were attending an event at a local ballroom.
The Antifa members -including suspects Thomas Massey and Tom Keenan- mistook the Marines for participants of the “We the People” rally, a conservative event that the far-left extremists mobilized to respond to.
The event’s Facebook page described the rally as a gathering for those who were “pro-good cop, pro ICE, pro-law and order, pro-life, pro-American values, pro-gun and anti-illegal immigration.” According to the Washington Post, people opposed to the rallies came from as far as New York City to denounce the gathering, with many believing that neo-Nazis would attend the event.
However, the organizers of the rally openly rejected extremists, noting that racism and violence had no place in the “pro-freedom” event.
“This event is to allow the people to make their voices heard,” they wrote on the event page. Any violence, racism, or display of hate by any group or individual is extremely prohibited. Any group or party violating these conditions will be removed from this event immediately.”
When Antifa members showed up to incite trouble with the rally members, some rally-goers felt uneasy.
“They’re calling us Nazis. But I ask you: Which side looks more like a Nuremberg rally?” Bill Heder told the Post, noting Antifa’s unruly presence. “All I heard over here was, ‘God bless the Constitution. Let’s get along.’ And the other side wants to tear our heads off.”
This was the backdrop that led to the violence against Torres and Godinez, who, according to Philadelphia Magazine, were simply innocent bystanders caught in the ideological crossfire.
According to the Marines’ testimony, they were looking at historical landmarks when Keenan approached them and asked if they were “proud.”
“We are Marines,” Godinez said.
“Are you Proud Boys?” Keenan demanded to know, referencing a right-wing group that many left-wing movements consider a “hate group,” despite the fact that the FBI does not consider them as such.
“I didn’t know what ‘Proud Boy’ meant,” Godinez recalled in court.
The Marines were then assaulted by Keenan, Massey and a group of around ten men and women, who sprayed them with pepper spray, kicked them and punched them as they referred to them as “Nazis” and “white supremacists.”
Confused as to why he was being attacked, Godinez told them that he was of Mexican descent, which resulted in Keenan referring to them as a “spic” and “wetback.”
During the assault, Godinez testified that he was maced around six times, hit in the head and kicked in the ribs, all to the chants of “f**k him up.”
“The best way I can describe it is the sound of people chanting in a soccer stadium,” Godinez told the court, also adding that Keenan was “laughing, smiling, and having a good time, while I could have died that day.”
Massey punched Torres repeatedly, according to the Marine’s testimony, to which the prosecutor argued that the Marines are much larger and in better shape than the Massey or Torres.
Godinez attempted to call 911 after the mob dispersed, but could not operate his phone due to the pepper spray. Torres ultimately called for help and both were taken to the hospital.
In terms of injuries, Godinez may need surgery and admits having trouble seeing since the attack, while Torres was never treated by medical personnel.
When the defense attorney for Keenan referred to the melee as a “tussle,” the judge snapped back, telling him “this isn’t like kids at a playground.”
Following several statements, the judge ruled that Keenan and Massey would be held for trial on felony aggravated assault and felony conspiracy charges as well as several misdemeanors. In addition to the dual charges, Keenan faces a felony charge of ethnic intimidation. The two are due in court on December 27th.
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