Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Central, Featured
Content Warning: Graphic descriptions of violence.
On Thursday April 25th an antifascist, referred to below as “C,” was stabbed multiple times in Denver, Colorado while removing fascist stickers from the side of a building placed there by the neo-Nazi group, Patriot Front.
This continues the pattern not only of Unite the Right, but also the Spencer event in Gainesville, where neo-Nazis associated with Patriot Front, who was asked by Spencer's group to do security, opened fire on protesters at a bus stop. https://t.co/XNOosQxgnc
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) March 6, 2018
Patriot Front is the rebranded version of the group, Vanguard America, which infamously was one of the main groups who marched in Charlottesville at Unite the Right, and in photos was seen marching alongside James Alex Fields Jr., Heather Heyer’s killer, who carried their shield baring their logo. After Unite the Right, the group rebranded in an attempt to present itself as a formation of “Patriotic Americans,” which would appeal to Trump supporters. Leaked Patriot Front chats from Unicorn Riot as well as the group’s own writings, show however that ideologically the organization is still very much committed to building a version of American “national socialism,” or neo-Nazism.
Yesterday, we published chat logs leaked from a Discord server for 'Patriot Front', a re-branded version of the Nazi group tied to Charlottesville killer James Alex Fields https://t.co/7WLzq0XYmS
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) November 10, 2017
A few weeks before the stabbing, other local antifascists observed that Patriot Front stickers had begun showing up in the South Broadway area of the Baker neighborhood. Two days before the attack, a video was posted of someone taking down the stickers on the same block.
DENVER be on the lookout for this fascist trash. One of our members did some clean up yesterday near Mutiny Cafe.
由 Front Range Workers' Initiative for Liberation and Defense 发布于 2019年4月23日周二
What follows is an account of the attack by the person who survived, along with a close friend who visited them in the hospital, along with some closing thoughts, more information on the case, and ways to donate to help the injured.
Account of Stabbing
On Thursday April 25th around 10AM I was leaving the Goodwill on South Broadway when I saw Patriot Front stickers on the outside of the south side of the building on Archer St.
I was removing what I could, and for the ones that wouldn’t come off, I was covering them with antifascist stickers. A Goodwill employee, an older man about 6’1″ with a long white beard, who we later found out was named Santi Martinez, walked by and told me to stop, that it was vandalism. I said, “This isn’t vandalism. Besides, vandalism doesn’t hurt anyone. These are fascist stickers and fascism puts people in concentration camps!”
Martinez then moved closer to me and said, “Maybe some people deserve to be in concentration camps.” Then he leaned in closer towards me, putting his hands on my shoulders. He had about half a foot and 100 lbs on me. I hit him in the nose. He then pulled out a large folding knife, about 4-6 inches, from his pocket and opened it, so I started running while pulling pepper spray out of my pocket and spraying it at him.
“I ran inside the Goodwill with him chasing me. I am gushing blood from my chest and abdomen and I could feel and see my intestines coming out of my body through my hoodie so I used one arm to cradle them while I ran.”
He chased me down Archer St. towards Broadway and caught me and stabbed me 5 times within a few seconds against the South wall of the Goodwill building. I continued to spray him and managed to get away from him and run around the corner and North on Broadway towards the front entrance of the Goodwill.
I ran inside the Goodwill with him chasing me. I am gushing blood from my chest and abdomen and I could feel and see my intestines coming out of my body through my hoodie so I used one arm to cradle them while I ran. Once I got into the Goodwill I yelled, “This guy just stabbed me a bunch!” at an employee while running past the counter.
Martinez continued to chase me with the knife and yell at me inside the store while employees and customers looked on doing nothing. While running though the store I was looking for something on the shelves that I could defend myself with as I continued to spray him and try to keep a distance between us. He continued to chase me with the knife and yell at me while employees and customers stood by doing and saying nothing with the exception of an older male customer who commented, “I was maced once,” while continuing to do nothing and failing to acknowledge that I was being chased by a large man with a knife while literally spraying blood everywhere and holding my intestines.
Martinez finally stopped chasing me for unknown reasons, so I stopped and took off my backpack and opened it on a counter which was quickly getting covered in blood and pulled out my small first-aid kit. I opened the gauze I had and realized there wasn’t enough for all my wounds. Then, realizing I was going to pass out, I decided that it would be better to sit down instead of falling to the floor. I started to treat myself while the Goodwill employees ran around and yelled: “Get everybody out of the store!”
“Realizing I was going to pass out, I decided that it would be better to sit down instead of falling to the floor. I started to treat myself while the Goodwill employees ran around and yelled: “Get everybody out of the store!”‘
Then a woman came over to me and said she was a nurse and started asking employees for gloves so she could help and start treating me. The employees looked confused and didn’t know where to find a first-aid kit for the gloves and just stood there over the nurse and me. Eventually someone gave gloves to her and she began to apply pressure to my wounds. A manager was telling everyone to leave, including the nurse who was applying pressure to my wounds and attempting to save my life, however she ignored him and stayed with me.
Statement from Goodwill
Firefighters/EMTs arrived and took over, cutting off my clothes with trauma shears and continuing to apply pressure to the stab wounds. A cop took my backpack, wallet, phone and everything else I had and when I asked him why he was taking my stuff when I was the victim here, he just said, “Crime Scene.” and walked away with my belongings.
The EMTs put me on a stretcher and wheeled me out of the Goodwill while I asked them for my phone because I wanted to call my mom. They said they’d get it. They then loaded me up into an ambulance in front of the store while I again requested my phone. They said they’d get it for me but never did. I was taken to the hospital and unloaded from the ambulance. While being wheeled out of the ambulance and into the hospital by the EMTs a police officer decided to unnecessarily help them with unbuckling the safety belts on the stretcher and while doing so managed, whether intentionally or not, to recklessly toss the buckle which flew back and hit me in the face.
“They had to cut completely through my sternum bone to get to my heart and lungs (my atrium was cut and both my lungs were collapsed) and I had lost 6 pints of blood. The nurses all told me that I could have easily died.”
I said, “Please don’t hit me in the face with that buckle,” and the cop responded with, “That didn’t hit you in the face! You’re on a lot of drugs right now!” At this point I had not received any drugs and was still fully conscious and aware of what was going on. I responded by saying, “Yes it did hit me in the face,” to which the cop replied to in a louder and firmer tone, “No it didn’t! Shut up!” I was then taken into emergency surgery for the knife wounds to my heart, lungs and abdomen.
They had to cut completely through my sternum bone to get to my heart and lungs (my atrium was cut and both my lungs were collapsed) and I had lost 6 pints of blood. The nurses all told me that I could have easily died. I spent the next 8 days in the hospital with chest tubes for both my lungs and received over 70 staples in my torso. I am out now and beginning the healing process but it will be at least another 2 months before I am healed.
From a Friend at the Hospital
When I got the call that C had been stabbed I went straight to the hospital and others there were able to fill me in on how bad it really was. C was out of surgery and in the surgical intensive care unit and we were waiting to be able to see them.
Their parents were there and as we all waited both of them independently shared with me the last conversation they had with C that morning. I was trying to figure out why they were telling me this and then I realized they had both been replaying that conversation, wondering if it might have been last one they would ever have with them.
“I said, “Wow you look like shit,” which luckily made them laugh, I guess it was my way of letting them know that I thought everything was going to be okay, or I wouldn’t be making jokes.”
When we were finally able to go in to the SICU we could only go in two people at a time. C was awake and seemed very focused, even though they had tubes down their throat and couldn’t speak. They still had dried blood on them from the attack and were very pale. I said, “Wow you look like shit,” which luckily made them laugh, I guess it was my way of letting them know that I thought everything was going to be okay, or I wouldn’t be making jokes. They are tough and I could tell were fighting hard. They started motioning with their hands for me to come to their left side and our other comrade to come to the right, so they could hold each of our hands. Then they started making hand gestures that seemed to be sign language at first, but we couldn’t understand what they were trying to tell us.
I was wondering if it had something to do with their attacker or something they needed us to do. At this point we had very little information about what had happened during the attack. We were both getting a bit anxious trying to understand, but finally our other comrade said, “Oh wait, it’s numbers! Hold on…1…3…1…2 (ACAB),” and then we all started laughing. The nurse asked what it meant and our comrade said, “Um it’s a boxing combo!,” and we had to try to stop laughing. And in that moment, I felt like my friend was going to survive this.
Martinez was taken to the same hospital and treated for a broken nose. A detective showed up at the SICU trying to get information from the nurses about C’s injuries. The detective left their card and the nurses informed him they couldn’t release any HIPAA protected information.
C was transferred to a progressive care unit the next day. A lawyer was contacted. The lawyer put in repeated calls and messages to both the detective on the case and the DA. The lawyer was told that the DA was reviewing all of the information and would finalize charges. C’s lawyer invoked their rights when leaving a message with the detective. The detective still showed up at C’s room in person again, however the nurses didn’t let him in and were upset that he was able to find out what C’s room number was since Denver has an automatic confidentiality with any stabbing or gunshot victims.
“On Monday, May 13th Martinez appeared in court and the state attorney let the judge know that no charges were going to be formally filed. Martinez submitted a request to have the records sealed so that no record of the arrest would be searchable.”
Both the detective and DA never returned any of the calls from the attorney. C was released on Friday May 3rd. On Monday, May 13th Martinez appeared in court and the state attorney let the judge know that no charges were going to be formally filed. Martinez submitted a request to have the records sealed so that no record of the arrest would be searchable. No explanation was given by the DA as to why they failed to file charges. To date C has been unable to retrieve their belongings taken by DPD.
When the details of this attack were relayed to an individual (who prefers to remain anonymous) who has been studying fascist groups and individuals, they had this to say: “It sounds like he’s a highly unpredictable man that’s a danger to the community especially to marginalized people and that he certainly has Nazi sympathies but isn’t affiliated with any groups, but probably would join if the opportunity was there and it was a fit.”
An antifascist organizer from the Pacific Northwest shared this: “Jeremy Christensen was the same, maybe more acute. He was not a member of any organization but deeply disturbed and was emboldened by Alt-Right ideology. We need to start taking this threat seriously.”
With the re-election campaign of Trump heating up again, Republicans and their allies on the far-Right are again looking for easy scapegoats to mobilize their voting base. In the last few years, the catch all bogeyman of “ANTIFA,” has become a time tested standard. Even in recent months, those on the Right have pushed the narrative of escalating “Left” and “ANTIFA” violence, always supposedly aimed at the public, or simply “Trump supporters. But to anyone actually counting who is stacking up corpses and attacking people on the streets, its clearly coming from the far-Right, which for the last several years has carried out dozens of deadly attacks from mass shootings, mosque arsons, attempted bombings, and violent stabbings. The events in Denver continue this pattern but more over shine light on why these things keep happening: the people that carry them out often don’t face any repercussions.
Meanwhile, the State sets its sights on social movements, passing laws aimed against Black Lives Matter, Water Protectors in Native communities fighting pipelines, anarchists and antifascists, and many more. In a time of crisis, the State is counting on those on the far-Right to support it and attack their enemies – in exchange, they are given free reign to attack the regimes enemies. It’s up to us as community members to build strong enough movements which can stand up to not only the far-Right, but also the State they support, building enough autonomy and power to push back against both.
- Redacted incident report with probable cause statement PDF
- Mug Shot PDF
- Martinez Case document PDF
- Photo of C’s wounds post surgery
- Response from Goodwill Public Relations