Three people were arrested in New York City following violent clashes after a speech by the founder of a far-right, pro-Trump group, and police said Saturday they were reviewing video of the clashes and could make additional arrests.
The violence Friday night followed a speech by Gavin McInnes, the founder of the Proud Boys, at the Metropolitan Republican Club. The male-only Proud Boys describe themselves as “western chauvinists.”
Videos posted on YouTube show clashes between the Proud Boys and groups that were protesting McInnes’ speech.
No serious injuries were reported.
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Fox News, in its story on the incident, pointed the finger at Antifa for causing the violence.
The network's story, headlined “Antifa strikes again - swords and vandalism at New York GOP office,” suggested the violence and footage of a man brandishing a sword were linked with the far-left group.
However, as Newsweek reports, New York City officials have never said the vandalism was committed by Antifa, and the man brandishing a sword in the video appears to be both a founder of Proud Boys - and one of the founders of the media company Vice - Gavin McInnes.
Just prior to the violence, the Proud Boys met at the Republican club for a speech by McInnes to “discuss historical context and offer perspective on the environment that surrounded Otoya Yamaguchi," an extremist right-wing Japanese activist who murdered a politician with whom he disagreed using a sword, then killed himself, "in 1960's Japan.”
The three arrested face assault charges and are awaiting arraignment Saturday in Manhattan criminal court. Police spokesman J. Peter Donald said the department was reviewing video and would make other arrests as warranted.
Several elected officials expressed outrage over the violence and blamed the Proud Boys, which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Authorities must review these videos immediately and make arrests and prosecute as appropriate,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said. “Hate cannot and will not be tolerated in New York.”
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, a Democrat who is running for state attorney general, said, “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.”
City Councilman Rory Lancman, also a Democrat, said video shows police officers were at the scene of an assault by Proud Boys members but did not arrest anyone from the group.
“It is revolting to see white supremacists commit a hate crime on the streets of New York City — in full view of the NYPD — and for none of them to be arrested or prosecuted,” Lancman said.
The Republican club was vandalized ahead of Friday’s speech by McInnes, who is also a co-founder of Vice Media. Statewide Republican officials said the damage included smashed windows, a spray-painted door and a keypad lock covered in glue. A note left at the scene claimed that the damage was “just the beginning.”