Two members of the Proud Boys, the far-right men’s organization that assaulted left-wing protesters after a Republican event last week in Manhattan, were arrested for the brawl, the New York Police Department said.
Geoffrey Young, 38, of New City, New York, was arrested at his home Thursday night on charges of riot and attempted assault, police told BuzzFeed News. He was the first member of the group arrested in connection with the violence.
On Friday, John Kinsman, 39 — also a Proud Boys member — was arrested and charged with attempted gang assault, attempted assault, riot, and criminal possession of a weapon.
The incident occurred Oct. 12 following an event at the Metropolitan Republican Club, which advertised that Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes would reenact the samurai sword assassination of Japanese socialist leader Inejiro Asanuma.
“Banned from Twitter — this Godfather of the Hipster Movement has taken on and exposed the Deep State Socialists and stood up for Western Values,” the club said in an advertisement for the event on its Facebook page.
McInnes, who was also a cofounder of Vice Media, was suspended from Twitter in August, along with the group’s main account, @ProudBoysUSA, for violating its policy on “violent extremist groups.”
The NYPD on Monday released footage of the brawl, which shows protesters throwing a bottle at a group of Proud Boys, who are wearing their signature uniform of black-and-yellow Fred Perry polo shirts and red Make America Great Again hats. The Proud Boys responded by throwing them to the ground and beating them.
About 60 Proud Boys were escorted by police south on Park Avenue toward 81st Street. Six protesters looped across 82nd Street to intercept the group, police said. It was there a protester threw a bottle resulting in the fight captured on video.
“I heard them screaming and swearing at some guy on the ground,” Shay Horse, a photojournalist who witnessed the incident, told BuzzFeed News on Saturday. “They were beating the shit out of him and kicking him in the head. One guy had his foot on the guy’s neck.”
Before Friday’s event, vandals broke the club’s windows and graffitied the anarchist symbol. The club also received threatening phone calls voicing displeasure with McInnes.
In a separate incident involving the Proud Boys about 10 minutes later, three leftist protesters were arrested for allegedly attacking a man and stealing his backpack.
The person flagged down police officers and said he was robbed, pointing to a group nearby. Three arrests were made.
The individuals — identified as Caleb Perkins, 35; Kai Russo, 20; and Finbarr Slonim, 20 — were arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Saturday.
All three face two counts of assault and one count each of larceny, aggravated harassment, attempted assault, and harassment, according to court documents. Perkins also faces one count of resisting arrest.
In addition to Young, the NYPD said it is looking to charge another eight Proud Boys and two leftists in relation to the brawl on 82nd Street caught on video. Officers are looking to charge an additional protester in relation to the second fight with the alleged stolen backpack.
Police came under criticism over the weekend after video of the 82nd Street brawl surfaced and the NYPD didn’t arrest any Proud Boys members. Horse told BuzzFeed News that an officer who arrived during the incident “just went totally slack-jawed and stared at the fight.”
Responding to the criticism after no Proud Boys members were arrested on the scene, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said the crowd immediately dispersed when officers turned up on scooters less than a minute after the fight began.
“It was a very chaotic scene,” Shea said, adding that everyone ran in different directions.
A law enforcement source told BuzzFeed News that video and audio captured on the officers’ body cameras shows the anti-fascist protesters were hostile toward the NYPD and not willing to cooperate. They refused medical attention and did not provide a description of the assailants.
According to the source who viewed the bodycam footage at least six or seven times, the victims of the beating said, “We don’t want your help,” telling the officers to “fuck off.”
Several New York elected officials expressed outrage over the violence, and called on the NYPD and the New York City District Attorney’s Office to take action against the Proud Boys, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the FBI to investigate the incidents involving the group and also directed the State Police Hate Crimes Unit to coordinate with the FBI and NYPD on their investigations “and any additional acts of violence or discrimination” by the Proud Boys across the state.
“Authorities must review these videos immediately and make arrests and prosecute as appropriate,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Hate cannot and will not be tolerated in New York.”
Cuomo questioned why the club invited a “hate group with a history of inciting violence.” He also blamed President Trump for “demonizing differences, fanning the flames of racism and division and creating a fire of hatred and violence.”
New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said Monday that a Republican club should not have invited Gavin McInnes.
“I wouldn’t have invited [the Proud Boys],” Molinaro said. “I wasn’t aware of them, I don’t know them, nor do I tolerate that kind of behavior or language.”
New York Public Advocate Letitia James called on the NYPD to arrest all the Proud Boys involved in the violence.
“I am disturbed and disgusted by the videos I’ve seen of members of the neo-fascist, white supremacist Proud Boys group engaging in hate-fueled mob violence on the streets of New York City,” James said. “New York will not become the next Charlottesville, and we refuse to let the actions of a hateful few define our City.”
James said she would also urge the district attorney to pursue hate crime charges due to “the clear homophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments expressed in the videos.”
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood echoed the sentiments, saying on Twitter that “hate has no place in New York.”
“This warrants immediate and thorough investigation by the NYPD to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Underwood said. Her office declined to comment further.