Guest post by Flip the Switch w/ Jenn
A gentle giant went to January 6th protests. Now Kenneth Bonawitz sits in the DC Gulag awaiting sentencing.
For less than two minutes at the frontline in the crowd outside the Capitol, Bonawitz is facing a minimum of 55 months in prison. This gentle giant, affectionately known as “Coach,” is a stellar and loved member of his Florida community.
Coach received his nickname because he was a football coach in his community for over 30 years. He coached his own children and continued to coach others for the love of helping children and for the love of the game. He’s had a positive influence for many people in his community as a man who has worn many hats in his life from father, grandfather, coach, salesman and now J6 political prisoner.
Coach went to the January 6th event to help the Trump supporters he traveled with, including some elderly patriots, stay safe. He, like many Americans, witnessed television coverage of Antifa, BLM, and other violent groups targeting Trump supporters at prior events. He wanted to be a shield, or deterrent, to these types of aggressors for his group.
After President Trump’s speech ended that day, Coach walked with others to the US Capitol, although they were on limited time as their bus would be heading back to Florida soon after the talk. While walking, Coach and others were antagonized by anti-Trump protesters, and, in hind site, he now believes they were there to rile up the crowd and make them angry. Clearly, they did their job, because at one point Coach grabbed an anti-Trump protester’s sign and ripped it up.
Once he reached the Capitol, he could see the chaos unfolding. News of someone being pushed off the balcony, people being shot with rubber bullets, and flash bangs thrown in the crowd, had already begun circulating through the crowd.
“I take responsibility for what I did,” Coach says. It is something he genuinely means this despite the fact that he, like others there that day, was provoked. After witnessing police stepping out of line with protesters, Coach briefly had a pushing match with police. He walked away and left to make sure he caught his ride home. He was at the front line for less than 2 minutes.
When he got back to the bus, there were two Antifa-type protesters harassing some of the elderly people he traveled with and he stepped in to protect them. It was a frightening situation for those he helped, yet he was able to get everyone on the bus and home safely.
Despite everything he has been through, Coach is optimistic about what the future holds for him when he is released. Of course, the hardest part will be what faces most of these political prisoners, starting from scratch.
He will, with the love and help of his family, have a job waiting for him. However, his home and his belongings are gone due to his incarceration.
Coach’s sentencing is set for December 1, 2023. He will be eligible for the First Step Act and hopefully will be back with his children and grandchildren to restart his life soon.
Watch Flip the Switch w/Jenn interview Coach below: