A video posted to Twitter shows a brawl breaking out between an interracial couple and white nationalists outside a restaurant in Brentwood, Tennessee.
The altercation occurred just hours after a “White Lives Matter” rally unfolded in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
The couple was dining inside the restaurant when a group of about 20 to 30 men and women came in and sat a table behind them, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.
The 30-year-old woman later said one of the men asked her to guess which group they belonged to and she replied with “White Lives Matter.”
Another man said “that’s right” and told her to leave her 37-year-old boyfriend, who was black, and join them at their table. After that, the conversation escalated into a physical fight even after the woman went out to deescalate it.
Police said another woman from the “White Lives Matter” group started an argument with the female victim, who was then punched in the face by a man, causing her to bleed from above her eye.
The fight was captured on a video by Facebook user, Annelise Werme, who drove to Brentwood to escape the white supremacy rally chaos in Shelbyville.
“These guys, maybe 20 of them, dressed in all black, paraded through to an adjoining room, and immediately started harassing a biracial [interracial] couple there,” Werme wrote in Facebook post that has since been widely shared. “It broke out into a huge fight with them busting open the face of the white girl who was furious with them for harassing them. I honestly can’t believe this is happening. My heart hurts.”
The video shows the neo-Nazi men in a tight cluster, shoving and pushing at each other, at one point in the clip a woman, with a bleeding face, is shoved against the window of the restaurant.
Werme posted a picture of the group of men filing into the restaurant, along with video of the altercation after it had apparently spilled out onto the street. Footage showed a tight cluster of people, shoving one another and appearing to shout. At one point, a woman is pushed back against a window of the pub and blood is visible on her face.
“Oh, my God, they’re — she’s bleeding,” a man inside the restaurant says in the video.
When the police arrived, everyone involved in the incident was gone. The 30-year-old woman later returned to the Corner Pub to file a police report.
Authorities are now looking for a white man in his 30s wearing a black jacket and black jeans. The white supremacist group left in multiple cars, including a white van with a Wisconsin license plate.
Jerry Grim, the manger at the restaurant said fights like these are extremely unusual for the pub.
“This is a family sports bar. We’ve got kids, babies in here ... we all cheer for our teams,” he said. “It’s a nice place to come.”
However, later that day, white nationalist leader Matthew Heimbach contacted Mic reporter Jack Smith IV, disputing the events and stating the fight was started by the black man who was part of the interracial couple. He also stated the “White Lives Matter” tried to deescalate the situation and the woman from the interracial group “jumped in and took swings at people.”
Just got off the phone with white nationalist leader Matthew Heimbach—here's a rough transcript of our quick chat about the fight in TN: pic.twitter.com/wg0W7Hnn8U— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) October 29, 2017
Obviously, this is a single, one-sided account of the incident. If anyone you know has information about the couple, my DM's are open.— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) October 29, 2017
It hasn’t been confirmed who was at fault for the incident, however, residents and officials of Shelbyville and Brentwood have been living in dread of violent conflicts for a few days. Most of them want to avoid a repeat of the tragic outcome that in Charlottesville’s “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, when a young activist was plowed down and killed by a white supremacist in a car.
In the aftermath of the rally in Shelbyville, another ”White Lives Matter” rally, scheduled to be held in Tennessee, was canceled.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters, Brian Snyder