Amid an Arizona “Make America Great Again” march in support of Republican President Donald Trump on Saturday, a heavily armed left-wing group tried to intimidate a liberal reporter into not recording video of their actions.
Reporter Stephen Lemons spotted the group of “about 40 or so assorted anarchists, Brown Berets, and members of a group calling itself the Phoenix John Brown Gun Club across the street from the state Capitol, openly armed to the proverbial teeth,” he wrote in the Phoenix New Times.
Lemons, a liberal, said he initially thought, “Hey, lefties with guns, that’s cool.” But the sentiment didn’t last long.
“While I was taking photographs of them, a woman approached me and told me that the group would not be granting interviews,” Lemons wrote in the New Times. “She gave me a flier with a statement from something called the ‘Redneck Revolt,’ which according to the flier aims to ‘put the RED back in redneck.'”
After Lemons began walking alongside the group — seemingly marching in formation on a sidewalk as many openly held rifles in front of their chests — Lemons began recording them on Facebook live, he said. Then things got very tense.
Lemons said he unintentionally brushed against one of the group members on the sidewalk — and the heavily tattooed man retaliated by walking backward into Lemons and “pushing” him aside.
“Oh, that’s interesting,” Lemons said on video after the altercation. “I like to see the left-wing get feisty. You assault reporters a lot? You’re a big bad ass ’cause you got a gun — you wanna shoot me?”
Then the group stopped and one gun-toting bearded member wearing sunglasses asked to see Lemons’ credentials. Lemons refused. Then he asked Lemons to “stop following us.” Lemons refused, telling the man they were on public property.
“Usually I’m documenting right-wing hate groups,” Lemons told the man, “and I’d be cool with you guys being down here. But the hostility is not cool.”
“If you cared about right-wing hate groups and stopping them, then you’d get out of our face with that phone,” the man replied to Lemons.
Lemons issued a terse retort: “Well, tough s**t.”
“I’m just going to warn you that we’re not responsible for anything that might happen to that phone,” the man told Lemons.
The argument continued between Lemons and the group, with the reporter refusing to stop recording video of their activities.
“I’ve actually seen more respect for the right-wing side,” Lemons tells them.
Toward the end, a man who seemingly acted as the group’s leader appeared and told the members to leave the area.
Lemons and the man chatted for a few minutes, and he wrote that the “progressive goons with guns tried to block me” as he continued to shoot video. Then the man suddenly turned and ran toward a vehicle that whisked him away, as Lemons laughed at their “ridiculous” behavior.
Here’s the video. (Content warning: Strong language):