POLITICS

Proud Boys Plead Guilty To Charges Stemming From NYC Attacks

Ten Proud Boys were charged in connection to attacks outside a GOP event. Two took plea deals.
Members of the Proud Boys — some of whom have been arrested — pose for a picture on the night of a vicious attack
Members of the Proud Boys — some of whom have been arrested — pose for a picture on the night of a vicious attack in New York City.

Prosecutors are recommending as much as a year in jail for members of the Proud Boys extremist gang, two of whom have pleaded guilty so far to charges stemming from a vicious attack outside a GOP event in Manhattan late last year.

Ten members of the Proud Boys appeared in New York Supreme Court on Friday, having initially faced charges of assault and rioting after they were caught on video ruthlessly beating protesters outside the Metropolitan Republican Club on the Upper East Side in October. 

Initially, the Proud Boys ― a gang of right-wing extremists founded by Gavin McInnes, known for attacking protesters across the country ― blamed anti-fascists for starting the fight that night. But in December, surveillance video from a nearby building, along with footage taken by journalist Sandi Bachom, made it clear that the Proud Boys were the aggressors.

Two of them have taken plea deals in the case. Jake Freijo and Eryk Kacznyski pleaded guilty Friday to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct in exchange for their freedom and five days of community service. Another two ― Irvin Antillon and David Jacob ― are due back in court later this month. 

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office recommended a variety of sentences for an additional six men, from probation up to a year in jail. Each was offered a plea deal to various assault and rioting charges.

The following recommended sentences will be decided by a judge in April:

  • John Kinsman: one year in jail on a plea to attempted assault in the second degree and riot in the second degree
  • Geoffrey Young: six months in jail on a plea to riot in the second degree and attempted assault in the third degree
  • David Kuriakose: 30-day jail/probation split on a plea to riot in the second degree and attempted assault in the third degree
  • Kyle Borello: three years’ probation on a plea to riot in the second degree and attempted assault in the third degree
  • Douglas Lennan: three years’ probation on a plea to riot in the second degree and attempted assault in the third degree
  • Maxwell Hare: one year in jail on a plea to attempted assault in the second degree and riot in the second degree

Many of the Proud Boys charged in the attack have different backgrounds, but each represents the organization’s perfect recruit: Someone willing to fight for the Proud Boys in order to gain rank within the organization.

Antillon, for instance, has connections to the primarily Latino skinhead group Battalion 49. He was also in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the first Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12, 2017, marching alongside the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, a Proud Boys affiliate that began as “an accelerant for violence at right-wing rallies,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Each of these Proud Boys is revered enough that the organization postponed a planned rally in Providence, Rhode Island, in April while they waited for a conclusion of the trial.

“Our brothers in NYC are fighting for their freedom right now and the left will use anything we do against them,” the Proud Boys said in a statement on their website.

Jacob, Borello, Freijo, Kaczynski, and Young were released without bail. Others’ bail was set between $3,500 and $25,000 ― Kinsman, dubbed previously by prosecutors as the “single most vicious” member of the crew, had bail set at $15,000 cash or $25,000 bond.

Also this week, on the West Coast, two men affiliated with the Proud Boys were indicted on assault charges stemming from an attack last June. Tusitala “Tiny” Toese and Donovon Flippo ― longtime bruisers at various extremist rallies in Portland, Oregon ― were being investigated over an assault that Toese had openly admitted to, according to Willamette Week. The paper exclusively reported that a grand jury voted to charge the men with third-degree assault.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that eight of the Proud Boys pleaded guilty Friday. Only two did; six were offered plea deals but haven’t yet taken them.

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