Members of Proud Boys, a far-right men’s group that the Southern Poverty Law Center qualifies as a hate group, were recorded on video brutally attacking protestors on October 12, after an event where the group’s founder, Gavin McInnes, spoke at the Metropolitan Republican Club. The video, captured by Shay Horse, a photojournalist from Brooklyn, went viral on social media.
Almost immediately, arrests were made. Shocking many, those arrested were not part of the Proud Boys group.
Instead, the New York Police Department arrested protestors. Now, the NYPD has finally arrested two Proud Boys members. The first to be arrested was Geoffrey Young, who was charged with rioting and attempted assault on Thursday.
The second arrest came Friday morning. John Kinsman was charged with attempted gang assault, attempted assault, riot, and criminal possession of a weapon.
The New York Post reports that at an arraignment on Friday night, prosecutors referred to Kinsman as the “single most vicious” Proud Boys member.
In an episode of his podcast, Get Off My Lawn, McInnes gloated about his alleged law enforcement connections. He basically defended the assault on protesters, saying they created a “climate of fear.”
Disturbingly, he went on to claim that he has “a lot of support in the NYPD.”
In response, the NYPD tweeted this:
False. This individual does not speak for @NYPDnews. We are a diverse org dedicated to keeping safe all 8.5M NY'ers & millions of visitors. Violence & disorder is unacceptable & will not be tolerated in NYC. We are aggressively investigating all leads, and will make arrests.
— NYPD DCPI (@NYPDDCPI) October 16, 2018
The NYPD is still seeking seven Proud Boys members in connection to the attack. They told the New York Times they have opened a “regular criminal investigation” into the organization.
In spite of what McInnes himself has said, the Metropolitan Republican Club gave a statement to BuzzFeed News, which ultimately defended their decision to host the event:
”Gavin’s talk on Friday night, while at times was politically incorrect and a bit edgy was certainly not inciting violence.”
“Once you unleash hate and division and you demonize differences, you lose control of it. You can’t target it,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo, who publicly critiqued the club for inviting the group, to begin with, and puts some responsibility on President Trump. “It’s lighting a match in a field of dry grass. The wind takes it and it just takes off.”
Cuomo begged the obvious, asking, “Why would the Republican Party, at their main club, invite the Proud Boys, who are known to be a hate group, who are known to promote violence?”
“Why would they invite them to attend a rally just 20-something days before a midterm election?”
Sadly, the answer feels a little too on the nose.