Three men were arrested Friday night after violent brawls in the streets of New York following a speech by the leader of a far-right organization given in Manhattan.
Gavin McInnes, a co-founder of Vice Media and founder of the Proud Boys, a male-only organization that describes its members as “western chauvinists” and is seen as part of the so-called alt-right ultra-nationalist movement, gave the talk at the Metropolitan Republican Club.
Following the speech at the club, a longtime gathering place for Republicans, more than a dozen members of the Proud Boys reportedly roamed the streets and clashed with counter-protesters.
Videos of altercations between Proud Boys members and protesters on the streets were posted to social media. Police said there were no serious injuries in the fights and that they were reviewing footage to determine if other crimes were committed.
Kai Russo, Caleb Perkins, and Finbarr Slonim were arrested and charged with assault, harassment, and petit larceny, the Daily Beast reported citing court documents. Perkins was also charged with resisting arrest.
Their victim, who was not named in reports, claimed the three men tried to steal his backpack and then began beating him when he tried to take it back from them.
It was not clear whether the three arrested men were supporters or protesters of the Proud Boys, whose members have been accused of white supremacy and anti-Semitism.
New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Democrat) declared in a statement Saturday that the city has no tolerance for the Proud Boys.
“Authorities must view these videos immediately and make arrests and prosecute as appropriate,” Cuomo said. “Here’s a message from a Queens boy to the so-called ‘proud boys’ — New York has zero tolerance for your BS.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for members of the public to come forward with any relevant information about the incidents and vowed to clamp down on hate crimes.
“The NYPD is fully investigating last night’s attack involving the Proud Boys,” de Blasio tweeted Saturday. “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.”
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
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood tweeted: “I’m disturbed and disgusted by last night’s attacks involving the so-called ‘Proud Boys.’ Hate has no place in New York. This warrants immediate and thorough investigation by the NYPD to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
I'm disturbed and disgusted by last night's attacks involving the so-called "Proud Boys." Hate has no place in New York. This warrants immediate and thorough investigation by the NYPD to bring the perpetrators to justice. Anyone with information should call 1-800-577-TIPS.
— NY AG Underwood (@NewYorkStateAG) October 13, 2018
During a trip to Israel in 2017, McInnes said that his visit was making him anti-Semitic, that Israelis have a “whiny paranoid fear of Nazis,” and that Jews were ultimately responsible for World War II.
Ahead of the McInnes speech vandals attacked the Metropolitan Republican Club premises.
Damage included smashed windows, a spray-painted door and a keypad lock covered in glue, according to state party officials.
The damage was discovered Friday. A note left at the scene claimed that the damage was “just the beginning.”
The note left at the club did not mention McInnes specifically, but accused Republicans of inviting “a hipster-fascist clown to dance for them, content to revel in their treachery against humanity.”
The note also took aim at Democrats, calling them the Republicans’ “spineless partners-in-crime.”
Republican leaders called on Democrats to denounce the vandalism.