Louisville, KY – On the night of Thursday, September 27, approximately fifteen Louisville Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members gathered at the Silver Dollar restaurant for a social event, which was openly advertised on social media and also attended by non-members. At some point during the meeting, around eight apparent members of a ‘Three Percenter’ militia group arrived at the Silver Dollar and began behaving aggressively towards both Louisville DSA members and restaurant staff.
The group stood outside the Silver Dollar and yelled at individuals, “take your socialist, commie bullshit and get the fuck out of here,” “don’t come in my goddamn area anymore.” According to Louisville DSA, the social event was taking place on the outside patio “so they were able to come up next to our table.” The staff clearly asked the Three Percenters to leave, and the confrontation quickly escalated into an apparent assault against DSA event attendees and restaurant staff.
At least one of the men took out pepper spray and maced several DSA members along with the general manager of the Silver Dollar restaurant. According to Louisville DSA, two of its members and the general manager of the restaurant were “significantly affected while several more were pepper sprayed.”
DSA members and restaurant staff that were sprayed were immediately treated for chemical burning on their eyes and face. The attackers continued yelling messages that seemed intended to intimidate, such as telling DSA meeting attendees that they were watching their every move.
When asked to leave the area, one of the men can be heard on video responding “Why don’t you make me leave, huh?” in an apparent attempt to provoke a violent response. All of the video footage of the incident we could locate seems to begin shortly after the pepper spray attack on DSA meeting attendees:
Following the attack on the DSA social event and restaurant employees, police arrived after being called by the Silver Dollar. Police then asked the group of attackers to leave the area. According to a Louisville DSA member, “The police did not detain anybody that I know of. They didn’t do much besides have the people who’d attacked us leave.”
The manager of the Silver Dollar wrote on Facebook,
“The LMPD officers who arrived asked the perpetrators who were left to leave but told our manager they did not have probable cause to search the perpetrators – despite a whole group having been pepper sprayed. I was advised at least one officer was seen laughing and joking around with the white nationalist group before letting them go with no repercussion. This is an unacceptable response by law enforcement, which I will be dealing with personally in the morning.”
DSA Louisville has not filed a police report. However, Vanessa Cantley, the owner of the Silver Dollar, suggested on Facebook that she might be pursuing some form of legal action following the attack and will also be following up with police failure to apprehend individuals suspected of participating in the assault.
Louisville DSA told Unicorn Riot that their group has been threatened with violence in the past. In recent months, at a prior event, Proud Boys showed up to a DSA meeting to intimidate attendees. According to Louisville DSA, “the people who attacked our group were wearing clothing with symbols associated with the Three Percenter militia, which participated in the August 12, 2017 Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Members also recognized them as part of the local Three Percenters group which protested and harassed the Occupy ICE encampment in Louisville this summer.”
According to Louisville DSA’s statement, “Nobody was seriously harmed, but it is clear that the far-right will become violent towards working people who resist their agenda. We will not be intimidated by these cowardly acts.”
The ‘Three Percenter’ militia group, whose symbols were worn by some of the men involved in the incident, is a loosely organized far-right paramilitary group with chapters spread across the country. Three Percenter groups have gained notoriety for providing armed security at neo-nazi and alt-right events over the last several years, including the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017. Members of Three Percenter groups also tend to believe in discredited conspiracy theories such as Qanon and Pizzagate.