The Proud Boys, classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, had blamed Antifa, or anti-fascist, protesters for the Oct. 12 clash outside a Proud Boys meeting at the conservative Metropolitan Republican Club on the Upper East Side. The meeting featured a speech by gang founder Gavin McInnes.
But previously unreleased video from a nearby building, along with other footage taken by journalist Sandi Bachom, contradicts the Proud Boys claim. Bachom’s video shows several Proud Boys members after the meeting viciously kicking a man on the ground and yelling “faggot” (watch the confrontation below, beginning at 2:10). Before the confrontation, men can be heard shouting: “Proud Boys! You ready?”
“It was like a war zone,” Bachom told HuffPost. “The Proud Boys literally flew in from everywhere behind me, you can see in the video. Before I knew it there was a violent brawl. I was so scared my heart was pounding and I was shaking afterward. I hadn’t seen random violence like that since Charlottesville.”
McInnes at the time blamed the confrontation on a protester who threw a plastic water bottle, shown in video released by the police (watch below).
But the surveillance video viewed by the Times shows that the bottle was thrown in response to a Proud Boys member’s violent charge, backed by another gang member, according to the newspaper. Prosecutors have said the video evidence will prove Proud Boys members initiated the violence, the Times reported.
Ten Proud Boys members were charged with riot and attempted assault after the clash. McInnes later quit the gang, saying he wanted to show jurors in those assault cases “they are not dealing with a gang and there’s no head of operations.”
Bachom’s video shows police outside the Republican Club encouraging the Proud Boys to move along as they exit, but there’s no apparent police presence when the protester is kicked. And there were no Proud Boys arrests on the scene.
McInnes claimed at the time that he had a “lot of support” from the “boys in blue” in the New York Police Department — which officials denied.
McInnes was fired this month from conservative Blaze Media, and his YouTube account was disabled. The Blaze, founded by right-winger Glenn Beck, merged with CRTV weeks ago to form Blaze Media. McInnes hosted a podcast with CRTV called “Get Off My Lawn,” in which he ranted about Muslims and women.
After the Proud Boys arrests, McInnes described the group as a “fun, silly, men’s club” whose members simply defended themselves against an attack by leftists, The Times noted.