By Peter Martinez CBS News October 15, 2018, 5:45 PM NYPD to pursue charges against 9 members of far-right group Proud Boys for violent brawl
The New York Police Department will pursue charges against a dozen people, including nine members of a far-right group known as the Proud Boys, in connection with a violent brawl on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Friday, the NYPD's Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Monday. He urged the public to come forward with information that could help identify those involved.
"We have nine individuals … that we feel confident we can sustain charges of riot or attempted assault," Shea said at a press conference. Shea said police are also pursuing charges against three anti-fascist protesters for their role in the altercation.
The fight, which was caught on surveillance video, occurred near the Metropolitan Republican Club around 8 p.m. following a speech by Proud Boys leader Gavin McInnes. Anti-fascist protesters had gathered outside the building, prompting police to escort some of those inside the club in the opposite direction following at the event.
An altercation broke out about a block away when six people dressed in black and wearing masks confronted that group, Shea said. One of those dressed in black threw a bottle at the Proud Boys group and a fight ensued for about 38 seconds until uniformed officers intervened.
Slurs and expletives can be heard in video showing the fight, as men kicked and punched several protesters on the sidewalk. The NYPD released new footage Monday showing the altercation from an alternate angle in hopes of identifying the participants.
The NYPD's 19th Precinct also posted images of "persons of interest" who police hope to identify and interview.
"We will not tolerate violence on the streets of New York City," Shea said during Monday's briefing. "Anyone, from any group, who wishes to take part in violence … will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted."
Shea said a separate incident occurred several blocks away, where a man flagged down an officer to report that a group of up to 10 people had robbed him. He said he wished to press charges and three people were arrested. Police didn't immediately make clear if those in custody were affiliated with the Proud Boys or the group of protesters.
Ahead of the speech, vandals smashed windows, filled a keypad lock with glue and spray-painted the doors of the Metropolitan Republican Club. A note left at the scene said the damage was "just the beginning."
Proud Boys describes itself as a "pro-Western fraternal organization." The Southern Poverty Law Center says the Proud Boys and their leaders "regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists."
McInnes, who co-founded Vice Media in 2008 and left the company in 2008, created the Proud Boys in 2016. The club's Facebook event for the speech described him as the "rebel of the right" and "banned from Twitter — this Godfather of the Hipster Movement has taken on and exposed the Deep State Socialists and stood up for Western Values."
In the wake of the melee, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blamed Republicans and President Trump for the violence. In a call with reporters on Sunday, Cuomo said inviting McInnes to speak at the club was a "political tactic, because what they're trying to do is fire up their base" ahead of the midterm elections, The Associated Press reported.
"Why would the Republican Party at their main club invite the Proud Boys?" Cuomo asked.
The Democratic governor said he had directed the state police to assist the NYPD in the probe. Elected officials were outraged over the online videos showing the violence, saying they showed Proud Boys members were involved and should face consequences.
Caroline Linton contributed to this report.