The New York Police Department said on Monday that it has enough evidence to arrest at least nine members of the far-right group “Proud Boys” on charges of rioting and attempted assault, as well as three other protesters who were involved in a ruckus on 82nd Street on Friday evening.
A brawl between the extremist group and leftist anti-protesters, whom the police described as part of the “Antifa” movement, took place near the Metropolitan Republican Club on that block in the early part of the weekend. Gavin McInnes, the leader of the Proud Boys, was seen exiting the building with a sword, which police say was a plastic toy. Nevertheless, McInness was ordered to put the sword away, according to reporting from the Daily Beast.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said police recovered several videos of the brawl between both sides to help them determine who they were seeking to arrest. More individuals could be charged, Shea added.
“This is an active investigation that literally as we were preparing to come here we are identifying additional people involved,” Shea said.
Police attended the event on Friday in an effort to keep both sides apart as the Proud Boys exited the club. But after at least three minutes following their departure, video shows a scuffle breaking out between the Proud Boys and the protesters gathered to stand against their presence there.
Police said that protesters had hurled a bottled and started throwing punches before the Proud Boys came into the frame of the video. This does not suggest which side started the fight, but rather is the earliest knowledge that police have of when the scuffle began.
Police are looking to arrest nine Proud Boys related to beatdowns outside the Metropolitan Republican Club last week: https://t.co/r3amV70Sxm
— Kelly Weill (@KELLYWEILL) October 15, 2018
A separate video showed the Proud Boys beating on several protesters in the crowd, shouting homophobic slurs at the protesters as they wailed on them.
When officers arrived to break up the fight, both sides ended up scattering, leaving the victims of the beatings in the road. None of the victims, particularly those with leftist leanings, wanted to speak with officers.
“Get the f— away from me,” said one of the purported Antifa protesters. “I just got punched 70 times.”
The Proud Boys are not unfamiliar with engaging their protesters and being a part of violent action in response to their presence there. They’ve reportedly been involved in several bloody brawls over the past couple of years.
The Proud Boys is an anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-women far-right group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In fact, former Proud Boys member Jason Kessler helped organize the controversial and deadly Unite the Right rally in the late summer of 2017.