The Trump-supporting organization known as the Proud Boys is facing a hate crime investigation after a series of violent clashes in New York City. The fracas on the streets and sidewalks following an appearance by the group’s founder resulted in the earlier arrest of three men.
The clashes took place late on Friday evening and into the early morning hours on Saturday, after Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes spoke at the Metropolitan Republican Club on New York’s Upper East Side. As ABC 7 New York reported, video taken after the speech showed members of the Proud Boys punching and kicking Antifa affiliated protestors while chanting “U-S-A.” In another video, members of the group bragged about beating up immigrants during the clash.
The New York Police Department came under fire for what critics saw as a lack of action during the street violence, with video showing some of the officers witnessing the violence but doing nothing to stop it. Law enforcement officers present in the captured video also failed to detain members of the Proud Boys, who could be seen attacking protestors.
The department is now taking action, the report noted.
“NYPD investigators released pictures of unnamed men and asked the public to come forward to help identify them,” the report claimed. “They said two of the men were observed kicking a victim lying on the sidewalk, and one was observed punching a victim as he tried to run away.”
Southern Poverty Law Center affiliate Hatewatch also reported that some skinheads were amongst the group of Proud Boys that attacked protesters after their event in New York City.
Before McInnes made his speech, the Metropolitan Republican Club was vandalized with a warning that this was “just the beginning.” New York Republicans decried the attack.
“You will see that this is an act of political violence, done by cowards in the middle of the night,” Republican State Committee Chairman Edward Cox said, via ABC 7 New York.
But the club itself came under fire in the wake of the attack, with many criticizing them for hosting McInnes after he frequently called for violence against political opponents — and after his group had become involved in a number of violent clashes in other cities.
Members of the Proud Boys could face more trouble ahead in the wake of the New York City clashes. While the NYPD investigates the street fighting that took place after Friday’s speech, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also called on the FBI to investigate. Governor Cuomo has assigned a hate crime division of the state police to work with the NYPD as it identifies suspects, the New York Times reported.