Photos of Tony Pettway are making the rounds online, as buzz about the black Donald Trump supporter who punched and kicked a white anti-Trump protester in Tucson continues to bring views and more questions. Facebook reports nearly 60,000 people currently talking about Pettway. Oddly enough, the booking photo or mugshot of Pettway, who was arrested in Tucson on Saturday, have yet to be found online.
As reported by the Inquisitr, Tony can be seen in the below viral video snatching a sign from Bryan Sanders and punching and kicking him as the crowd eventually shouted, “Trump! Trump!” A person donning a KKK hood, who was also being escorted out of the Trump rally as Trump called the KKK gear disgusting, was not with Bryan, but that didn’t stop Pettway from wailing down blows and kicks upon Sanders, as some Trump supporters cheered in the background, whilst other Trump rally-goers looked worried, and reached out to stop Tony from the barrage of punches and kicks Pettway levied upon Sanders.
The fact that Pettway is the first black man to go viral as a Trump supporter who sucker-punched a white anti-Trump protester is causing lots of buzz about Tony online. As reported by KVOA, Pettway is with the Air Force, so it didn’t take long for folks to find Pettway’s Air Force photo, as seen below.
The photo of Pettway was also unearthed by the Washington Post, which described him as “Senior Airman Tony Pettway, fourth from left in front row, in 2008 at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico,” unlike other photo captions that have appeared on Twitter with a different year listed.
The publication noted the reasons why 33-year-old Bryan believed it was necessary to take Tony’s punches. The publication notes the words said by Trump as the person wearing the KKK hood and Pettway were being escorted out of the room. While some publications are calling the KKK hood wearing person Pettway’s friend, other news outlets — such as CNN — report that Bryan and the KKK-hood wearing person did not know one another. That didn’t stop Trump from seemingly linking the two as they left — and it’s unknown if Pettway was set off by thinking that Bryan was related to the KKK-wearer was unclear.
“There’s a disgusting guy, puts a Ku Klux Klan hat on. He thinks he’s cute — he’s a disgusting guy. They’re taking away our First Amendment rights. They’re troublemakers. They’re no good, and we better be careful. We’ve got to take our country back, folks.”
After the incident, as reported by ABC News, Trump claimed that Pettway was offended by the KKK hood wearer, since Pettway is a black Trump supporter. However, Tony didn’t punch the KKK hood wearer — but Pettway can be seen punching Sanders. Trump saved most of his criticisms not for Pettway’s punches, but for the KKK hood wearer.
“Frankly, that was a, you know, it was a tough thing to watch. And I watched it. But why would a protester walk into a room with a Ku Klux Klan outfit on? We don’t condone violence, and I say it.”
Meanwhile, as folks search on Twitter for Pettway photos — with some also searching on Facebook for Pettway photos, certain people are glomming on to the first Pettway Facebook profile photos of men in military uniform, which doesn’t appear to be the correct Pettway, since — according to KVOA — Pettway is in the Air Force, not other branches of the military.
“Captain Casey Osborne, 355th Fighter Wing Chief of Public Affairs released this statement on behalf of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base:
“I can confirm the individual depicted in these videos is an Airman assigned to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. We are reviewing the situation, fully cooperating with local authorities, and will take appropriate action.
“All DOD members are authorized to participate in the political process in their personal capacity without implying any endorsement from the DOD.
“We believe wholeheartedly in our fellow Americans’ rights to express their views on political issues, and we strongly condemn any attempt to silence those views through force or violence.”
A search for “Tony Pettway” on Instagram results in multiple accounts.
The Pettway scuffle happened on Saturday, March 19, in Tucson, Arizona — with Pettway’s mugshot not yet released.
[Photo by AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin]