Police in Olympia, Washington, are looking for two men who assaulted an Air Force officer during a supposedly peaceful protest Sept. 5.
The officer, described as a pilot at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was stopped in traffic due to the protest when he was singled out by a "local hate group," which calls itself the "anarchists," according to a police news release.
"The protesters saw two confederate flags attached to the back of the victim's motorcycle and surrounded him, rocking the bike in an attempt to knock it over," the news release said. "They sprayed the victim in the face with mace, and struck him in the back with a baseball bat and a glass bottle filled with red paint."
Police did not identify the Air Force officer, who suffered "severe eye irritation," as well as a bruised shoulder and back in the attack, the news release said. A witness who tried to help the officer also was sprayed in the face with mace.
A spokesman for the 62nd Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord declined to release the airman's name, rank or other identifiable information.
"Due to the fact that there is an on-going investigation into this matter, at this time we are not allowed to release any other information on this Airman other than to confirm he is assigned to the 62nd Airlift Wing, McChord Field, part of Joint Base Lewis-McChord," Master Sgt. Todd Wivell said in an email Wednesday to Air Force Times.
The police news release described the two men suspected of attacking the Air Force officer as white males who stand 6 feet 4 inches tall. All of the protesters wore black and camouflage clothing with masks covering their faces.
While Olympia Police supports people expressing their First Amendment right to protest, the Sept. 5 gathering's message was "violence and hatred" that resulted in two people being hurt and extensive damage to city hall, the news release said. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Olympia Police Department at 360-753-8300 or Thurston County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.