The NYPD said on Monday that they are looking to charge 9 members of the alt-right street gang Proud Boys with counts of rioting or attempted assault after brawling with anti-fascist protesters on Friday.
The violence erupted shortly after Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes was invited by the Metropolitan Republican Club to re-enact the assassination of a Japanese socialist leader, which was heavily protested.
The NYPD was criticized for allowing Proud Boys members to disperse without charges after thirty members of the hate group beat and repeatedly stomped three protesters while screaming homophobic slurs. In video of the assault, one officer on a motorcycle can be seen watching the violence for several moments before walking to the scene and instructing everyone to disperse.
Three antifa protesters were immediately arrested for an unrelated fight that same evening.
NYPD investigators later released photos of three unnamed men to the public who are wanted for questioning. Two of the men kicked a victim lying on the sidewalk while the other punched a victim as he attempted to run away.
We continue to investigate the violent incident on the UES on Friday night, and need information regarding these persons-of-interest. no complaints have been filed; If you were the victim of a crime, or have information about the incident, please call 1-800-577-TIPS. @NYPDTips pic.twitter.com/27hiXunk61
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) October 14, 2018
On Friday at approx 8:23 pm there was an altercation which was widely distributed via social media on 82nd between Lexington to Park, here’s another angle of the video. We need your help identifying these individuals please contact @NYPDTips 800-577-TIPSpic.twitter.com/ndII6m0aLc
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) October 15, 2018
“I heard them screaming and swearing at some guy on the ground,” photojournalist Shay Horse, who recorded the assault, told Buzzfeed. “They were beating the shit out of him and kicking him in the head. One guy had his foot on the guy’s neck… One dude started screaming, ‘Do you feel brave now, faggot?’”
The Proud Boys even waited to do a group photo after the fights. They were hyped the fuck up after that. Flashing their white power hand symbol before marching towards a downtown train. pic.twitter.com/JP6jiM8Yud
— Shay Horse (@HuntedHorse) October 13, 2018
The Proud Boys have regularly fought antifa protesters, including at the now-infamous Charlottesville white supremacist rally that resulted in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer. The group emphatically rejects the “alt-right” label, but regularly advocates for white supremacist values.
Outspoken figures in the alt right have called the Proud Boys’ rhetorical posturing “bullshit.” Alt-right member Brian Brathovd said that if the Proud Boys “were pressed on the issue, I guarantee you that like 90% of them would tell you something along the lines of ‘Hitler was right. Gas the Jews.’”
Nathan Wellman is a Grit Post contributing editor in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @LIGHTNINGWOW. You can also email him at info AT gritpost DOT com.