SEATTLE — A man with a red swastika armband was punched in downtown Seattle after being pointed out on social media by Antifa supporters and others.
The incident appears to have unfolded in just under two hours on Sunday, and it could be the latest example of how the anti-fascist community is using social media to solidify a so-called Nazi-punching movement.
A Twitter user with the handle @bigotbasher published a photo of the on the D Line Sunday around 3:30 p.m. with the hashtag #AntiFacistAlert. The D Line runs from Crown Hill to Yesler Way through Queen Anne and downtown Seattle.
According to the Twitter user, he received the photo from a “submitter,” who claimed the man harassed a black man on a bus.
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People not associated with Antifa movement also sent tweets from downtown nearly 30 minutes later, saying that an apparent Nazi with a swastika armband was yelling at people on Pike Street and Third Avenue.
Recorded in the entrance of the downtown Seattle light rail station, YouTube video — now removed for violating the platform's harassment policy — shows as the man finishes a heated sentence about who deserves welfare, he gets punched. People cheered as he was knocked out.
In a photo uploaded around 4 p.m. on Facebook, which now has hundreds of shares, the man appeared to have possibly crawled out of the light rail and next to the McDonalds, where no one helped him.
After receiving reports about a man instigating fights, officers responded to the area and found him on the ground. The man refused to give information about what happened, took off his armband, and left, according to police.
KIRO 7 News called SPD asking about possible disturbance calls from the man’s yelling or possible assault charges related to the punch. A spokesman said the department is still looking into the incident.
“We’ve gotten a mountain of questions about this,” SPD spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee said. “We still have to dig through different logs and places where data gets inputted and [search] what may or may not have been reported or recorded.”
This time last month, another video made the rounds in Seattle when a guy threw coffee on "Infowars" radio host Alex Jones as he provoked people on the sidewalks. There were questions of whether the Jones video was staged. Police have not indicated that the Jones video or the punch video Sunday were hoaxes.
While not connected to Sunday’s incident, the Jones confrontation happened just blocks away from where the man was punched.
Thousands in the Antifa community celebrated Sunday’s knock out on social media with long Reddit threads and tweets.
Antifa, a militant anti-fascist political movement, has existed for decades – with a large chapter in Portland. The group is known for street protests, destroying property and violence.
Antifa and its supporters have hailed what some call the left hook for some time, but that was amplified after white nationalist leader Richard Spencer was punched on Inauguration Day in Washington D.C.
A reporter who covers protests wrote a piece about the Antifa network and its social media use, writing that the platforms have recently elevated their efforts to coordinate. An Antifa member on Twitter told Buzzfed that it was anti-fascist Twitter networks that made the punch happen on Sunday.
Cox Media Group