As hundreds of leftist-aligned protesters gathered outside a small rally held by a conservative/libertarian group in Old City on Nov. 15, blocks away from the main event, a group of U.S. Marine Reservists alleged that they were attacked and robbed by a group of males who called them “Nazis” and “white supremacists.”
Now one suspect, Tom Keenan, 33, of Mt. Airy, a purported member of Philly Antifa organization whose involvement in militant counter-protests against white supremacists dates back to at least 2007, is facing charges of aggravated assault, terroristic threats and criminal conspiracy for the incident, the Philadelphia Police Department announced on Nov. 26.
Keenan reportedly turned himself into police custody on Nov. 20, a day after the department posted video of him and two other suspects online. The investigation remains ongoing and the other suspects have not yet been identified.
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No details have been released about the U.S. Marine reservists who were allegedly attacked and robbed around 3:20 p.m. on Nov. 17 on Front Street near Chestnut, just a few blocks from the “We the People” rally and protest. Police have not identified how many victims were attacked and robbed or any other information about the complainants.
Police say that on Nov. 19, the victims alleged that they “were approached by numerous males and females. The group of suspects called the complainants ‘Nazis,’ and ‘White Supremacists.’ The suspects then maced the complainants, and then proceeded to punch and kick them. During the assault, one of the complainants had his cell phone stolen from him by one of the male suspects. The offenders then fled.”
The complainants allegedly identified Keenan and two other males on video recorded during the protest of the “We the People” rally. No information was immediately available about whether the Marine Reservists who were allegedly attacked had attended the rally or protest.
Philadelphia Magazine identified Keenan as having been associated with Antifa-related activities for years, first as one of the so-called “LOVE Park 4” arrested in 2007. The group was allegedly protesting a Klu Klux Klan rally when they got into a physical altercation with people in attendance who were later revealed to be undercover law enforcement officers. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a summary offense, according to court records.
The “We the People” rally went nearly viral online as reports spread that it was organized by the self-identified “Western chauvinist” Trump-supporting Proud Boys, who have sparred with Antifa and leftist protesters at rallies around the country and in New York City. But it was actually organized by the “Sports, Politics and Beer II” Facebook group, who posted tame videos from their rally corralled off in the middle of Independence Mall, at which speakers denounced fascism, racism and the media, and discussed the U.S. Constitution, their support for President Trump, and debated the benefits of supporting Libertarianism versus the Republican party.
Away from the rally, tensions neared a boiling point as protesters skirmished with police, one protester allegedly punched a Philadelphia cop – now facing federal charges of aggravated assault – and a Jewish bystander was assaulted after wrongly being identified as a Nazi and Proud Boy. Attendees reported spotting at the Philly event just two members of the Proud Boys, both of whom were known publicly after being arrested for a fight with Antifa outside the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City.
Keenan was released on bail and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6.
The Philly chapter of Antifa could not be reached for comment.