New York lawmakers are calling on the FBI to investigate recent attacks by the Proud Boys, an anti-LGBTQ, sexist, alt-right organization that has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Trump-loving fraternity has made a name for itself for its hatred of women and queer people, which came to a boiling point in an attack Friday night.
Footage captured by Sandi Bachom shows several members of the Proud Boys — after leaving an event headlined by founder Gavin McInnes at the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City — beating protesters of the event several blocks from the venue.
During the assault, Proud Boys members taunted their victims with homophobic slurs. “Do you feel brave now, faggot?” one shouted, while his accomplices hurled the f word and pummeled the protesters on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
Although the New York Police Department was unable to identify the victims, activists have identified several Proud Boys from the altercation. The attackers even took a photo together after the assault.
The Proud Boys even waited to do a group photo after the fights. They were hyped the fuck up after that. Flashing their white power hand symbol before marching towards a downtown train. pic.twitter.com/JP6jiM8Yud
— Shay Horse (@HuntedHorse) October 13, 2018
At present, there have been no reports of Proud Boys members being arrested – although the NYPD said it may charge up to nine members for the attacks, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Police have already arrested three antifascist protesters who clashed with Proud Boys members and supporters. The protesters were arraigned and released Saturday.
Now top New York City and state leaders are speaking out against the Proud Boys, calling for the FBI to investigate the attack and the State Police Hate Crimes Unit to help bring the men to justice. The outraged officials include Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state Attorney General Barbara Underwood, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Other city officials calling for legal action are Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
Authorities must review these videos immediately and make arrests and prosecute as appropriate. Hate cannot and will not be tolerated in New York.
Here's a message from a Queens boy to the so-called 'proud boys' – NY has zero tolerance for your bs. https://t.co/xGxIqeZumm
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 13, 2018
The governor's office also put out a longer statement, which said President Trump was “fanning the flames of racism" and that it was inappropriate for McInnes to speak at the Metropolitan Republican Club — a prominent social club that supports the GOP — as he is the leader of a hate group.
"These vile acts of racism, division and discrimination are repugnant to American values, and have no place in our state," Cuomo wrote. "Why did this club invite the Proud Boys, a hate group with a history of inciting violence? Do you believe they have a positive contribution to the political dialogue at this time?"
McInnes, a cofounder of Vice Media who was eventually pushed out of the company, has been known to promote crime among his supporters. “I cannot recommend violence enough. It’s a really effective way to solve problems," he advised supporters, reports the Southern Poverty Law Center. The leader was caught on video punching a protester in 2017. At the Friday event, McInnes brandished a (reportedly plastic) samurai sword, which he used to reenact the assassination of Inejiro Asanuma, the late leader of the Japan Socialist Party.
Before his speech, the Republican club had been vandalized, so McInnes suggested that his supporters should retaliate in the most hostile manner possible. “When you set up this climate of fear, you have people that are going to be aggressive, you know?” he said Sunday in response to the violence in question.
Mayor de Blasio hinted on Twitter that those who incited the attack as well as those who threw punches will be held accountable by authorities, and that could mean McInnes.
The NYPD is fully investigating last night’s attack involving the Proud Boys. If you know anything, the NYPD wants your help. Hate is never welcome in NYC and we will punish those responsible — whether they threw punches or incited violence — to the fullest extent of the law.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) October 13, 2018
"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 agreed in a statement. "New York will not become the next Charlottesville, and we refuse to let the actions of a hateful few define our City."