Did an Antifa member try to block a car and assault someone, but the driver jumped out and beat up the protester? No, that's not true: A video that purportedly shows an Antifa member assaulting an SUV actually shows a pedestrian attacking cars because he was upset about drivers not using turn signals, a local police spokesman said about the November 21, 2019 incident.
The pedestrian was wearing a balaclava (also known as a ski mask), which some publishers interpreted to be a sign he was an Antifa protester, but the mask was not unusual considering temperatures were near freezing that day in Pueblo, Colorado, that day.
The false claim apparently originated on Twitter, but was soon repeated on several websites, including in an article published by RedState.com on November 23, 2019 titled "An Antifa Member Tries to Block a Car and Assault Someone, It Doesn't Go Well (Seriously)" (archived here) which opened:
The tactic of protestors, specially those tied to Antifa and the climate change movement, blocking roadways is becoming more and more common. We saw some in Europe even try to hold up trains, leading to violent encounters.
Normal people with jobs and responsibilities are getting tired of it. Someone's pet issue doesn't change the fact that the clock has got to punched or the children have got to be picked up.
Yesterday, a video surfaced of an Antifa protestor trying to block an SUV. The protestor has some kind of weapon in his hand (which you'll see later clearly) an is wearing a black mask and backup (the typical getup).
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
This has got to stop.
The video was originally uploaded by the Pueblo, Colorado, man who recorded it. He did not make a connection to Antifa:
The "some kind of weapon" the pedestrian was carrying was an umbrella, which was also not unusual for the rainy, cold weather that day. The pedestrian was wearing a pink winter coat and carrying a pink backpack, which RedState called a "typical getup" for an Antifa protester. It is also a "typical getup" for a person on a Colorado street during a cold rain.
When KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs, Colorado, talked to Pueblo police about the video, they were told it had nothing to do with Antifa. The driver contacted police when he saw a news report about it. The KRDO report on November 27, 2019, is titled: "Viral video of Pueblo fight warps into right-wing 'propaganda'":
At this point, no charges have been filed against the driver of the SUV, who can be seen accelerating slowly into the pedestrian before throwing him to the ground and punching him several times. The driver said he had "two to three" conversations with the masked man before things escalated.
According to Pueblo police, the driver told officers the altercation started because the masked pedestrian was blocking drivers from turning west onto 4th Street if they weren't using a turn signal.
So, in a way, the pedestrian was protesting -- but the video got picked up by so-called conservative outlets to push a warped narrative.
Pueblo Police Sgt. Frank Ortega criticized the websites for turning the video into "propaganda":
They are positioning the video and putting it into the context that supports their cause, their mission, and their propaganda. It is unfortunate they are using video that is locally from here.
The lack of turn signal usage is not known to be on Antifa's list of things to protest. CNN provided an explanation of "What is Antifa" in an article posted on August 14, 2017:
Antifa is short for anti-fascists. The term is used to define a broad group of people whose political beliefs lean toward the left -- often the far left -- but do not conform with the Democratic Party platform. The group doesn't have an official leader or headquarters, although groups in certain states hold regular meetings.
Antifa positions can be hard to define, but many members support oppressed populations and protest the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites. Some employ radical or militant tactics to get their message across.
There have been several other recent examples of attacks -- or planned attacks -- falsely attributed to Antifa. We wrote about them in these articles:
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes redstate.com as:
A right-leaning news and opinion website that has distorted information and regularly mixes news and opinion.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about redstate.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
- Oxford Study Does NOT Prove Right-Wingers Share and Believe More Fake News
- Has The GOP's Ugly Divorce From Donald Trump Begun?
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