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New Surveillance Video Appears To Show The Proud Boys Starting The New York Fight

The newly released footage shows two members of the far-right group charging at a handful of protesters that October night.

Last updated on December 24, 2018, at 2:35 p.m. ET

Posted on December 24, 2018, at 1:04 a.m. ET

Shay Horse

Newly released surveillance video from a brawl between the Proud Boys, a far-right group, and leftist protesters after a Republican dinner in October appears to show the self-proclaimed “Western chauvinists” initiating the violence, contradicting the group's claims that they were defending themselves.

On Oct. 12, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes delivered a speech at the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan, triggering counterprotests outside the building. After the event ended, several recordings captured members of McInnes's group streaming out of the building and then clashing with a handful of leftist demonstrators who had sidestepped police blockades and were waiting for the group near another exit. When officers arrived, the Proud Boys were able to walk away, sparking outrage over whether they should have been arrested or at least questioned.

In the months following, authorities arrested and charged at least nine members of the Proud Boys with rioting and attempted assault. At least three leftist protesters were also charged.

Initially, McInnes claimed that his group descended on the protesters after one threw a water bottle at them. But now footage from a nearby building, which the New York Times obtained and released Sunday, shows two Proud Boys members beelining toward a group of about six protesters first, prompting one of the protesters to chuck the water bottle in the Proud Boys' direction.

In the video, the Proud Boys then continue to charge right into the group, hurling punches as other members sprint toward the fight.

4/6 The brand new footage shows what followed: two Proud Boys went east on 82nd Street, approaching protesters who were perhaps 100 feet away from Park Avenue. By the time the plastic bottle was thrown, one of those two Proud Boys was within a few feet and charging.

Prior to the release of the security footage, prosecutors, media, and authorities used photographs and at least three other videos taken by bystanders and the New York Police Department to try to piece together who really started the fight.

Sandi Bachom, a video journalist, captured the moment the brawl began and the ensuing violence.

View this video on YouTube

In that video, someone yells “Proud Boys! You ready? Proud Boys!” right before the men charge the protesters.

The entire fight lasted about a minute, the Times reported, and police arrived on the scene as the groups were still throwing punches. The NYPD had originally said the scene was “chaotic,” with many members running in different directions. But the videos contradicted that claim, showing most members walking into the dark street. Officers did not arrest anyone at the scene.

Shay Horse, a photojournalist who snapped a photo of the group after the fighting concluded, which authorities then used to help identify those involved, tweeted Sunday night that police “stood and watched the attack unfold.”

It’s worth noting that the NYPD stood and watched the attack unfold. They only stepped in after everything was over so they did less than even their bare minimum. So the only reason this happened was because the police let a hate group march and attack people at their leisure.

According to the Times, prosecutors have stated that they are relying on video evidence and witness accounts to investigate who initiated the assault, since several of the victims have refused to cooperate or be identified.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office declined to comment for this story. BuzzFeed News reached out to the NYPD for comment on the surveillance footage but did not immediately hear back.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.