Saturday, January 27, 2018

Man Tries Trolling Iowa City Women's March with Pro-White Stickers & Pepe the Frog Sweatshirt; Ends Up Hiding In Nearby Office & Calling his Girlfriend for Back-Up // Updated Below...

(Originally written on 01/21/18): Iowa City's Wetherby Park areas was blanketed with racist leaflets earlier this month. Yesterday morning when many others were attending Iowa City's Women's March on the pedestrian mall, a guy wearing a Pepe the Frog sweatshirt hoodie was plastering the Ped Mall with "It's Okay To Be White" stickers.

Little Village Magazine tells a story about Sweatshirt Man being seen pasting stickers onto lampposts and trashcans and other items of public property. According to the article, another man saw him doing this, followed him around, and took off the various stickers.

People eventually began following Sweatshirt Man around, who quickly pulled his hoodie over his face and ran into the nearby MERGE coworking space near the Iowa City Public Library:
The hoodie had the image of Pepe the Frog on it. The cartoon frog has become a popular symbol among alt-right activists and white supremacists. “I asked him what he was doing. I said, ‘If it’s okay to be white, why are you hiding your face?... He didn’t say anything, he just kept walking.” (He) followed the man, who headed to MERGE, the coworking space located next to the Iowa City Public Library.
Two guys follwed Sweatshirt Man into MERGE. One was kicked out of the building, but the other man managed to corner Sweatshirt Man in an empty conference room.

Sweatshirt Man ended up calling his girlfriend and the police for assistance. The police arrived and eventually de-escalated the situation. As for the girlfriend?:
“I was standing outside MERGE looking through the photos I’d taken, when a young woman in a blue hoodie came up to me... She asked if I’d taken photos of her boyfriend. I asked her if her boyfriend was the one putting up the white supremacist stickers... She said, ‘Yes,’ and that he’d called her saying he was in MERGE. She said she wanted me to delete the photos, because this whole thing was traumatic for them... She said he’s not a racist, he just likes to do these things to get a rise out of people.”
Don't get me wrong. I have no doubt that this guy was just trying to yank the collective chain of a bunch of strangers. But I'm really shocked at how cowardly he was reported to be when approached by anyone about his attention-seeking behavior.

Updated on 01/27/18: Sweatshirt Man has been identified by the Iowa City Police Department, as reported by Little Village Magazine. Not only that, but he has a legal history that might get him in trouble for being near the library and ped mall playground:
The Iowa City Police Department (ICPD) has confirmed that Jonathan Charles Koch was the man seen putting pro-white stickers on the Ped Mall during the Iowa City Women’s March on Jan. 20... 
Koch was arrested by agents of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) in May 2007 for running an illegal high stakes poker games in his Riverside, Iowa home. As part of their investigation, agents seized computer equipment, including a flash drive. Six months after he was arrested, Koch pled guilty to the charge of running an illegal gambling operation, and was placed on probation. In 2008, a DCI agent cataloging evidence discovered child pornography on the flash drive, and reexamination of the hard drive of a computer seized from Koch uncovered more child pornography images. Koch, who had moved to Iowa City, was charged with possession of child pornography. He was convicted in July 2009. On March 21, 2010, Koch, then age 22, was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of probation after his release. According to a Federal Bureau of Prisons database, Koch was released from prison on July 20, 2015. 
When he returned to Iowa, he was placed on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. Departmental regulations prevented the ICPD from publicly identifying Koch as the man in the Pepe hoodie, while the incident at MERGE was being investigated. On Thursday, ICPD Sgt. Derek Frank told Little Village the investigation was now closed.
No charges were filed after last weekend's encounter at the MERGE. However, it's been reported that Koch's probation officer has been notified about the situation.

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