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Members of the far-right, pro-Trump group called thefought with protesters Friday night in New York City after the group’s founder, , spoke at a nearby Republican club. The men appear in the video to be yelling slurs and expletives while kicking and punching several anti-fascist protesters who lay on the sidewalk.
In a statement, the NYPD said three people were arrested after an assault on Manhattan’s Upper East Side near the Metropolitan Republican Club. The NYPD said they were monitoring that the event and the protests outside were peaceful when they observed an assault happening.
The NYPD says it’s unclear if the three men arrested were affiliated with either group, and added the department is reviewing video and will make other arrests “as warranted.”
It’s unclear if the arrests were related to the fight caught on video, since there appeared to be no arrests in the footage posted by video journalist Sandi Bachom. The NYPD said it is reviewing additional video and evidence from the scene to determine if additional crimes were committed.
Journalist Shay Horse told BuzzFeed News that members of the Proud Boys said the brawl began when one of the protesters allegedly knocked one of their “Make America Great Again” hats off. Horse described it as a “pummeling.”
“It wasn’t really a fight, because the three people never really got a chance to even stand up,” he said.
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James called for additional arrests in connection to the melee, and encouraged Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to pursue hate crime charges, CBS New York reports.
Other New York lawmakers, including NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Barbara Underwood, condemned the attack.
“Authorities must review these videos immediately and make arrests and prosecute as appropriate. Hate cannot and will not be tolerated in New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Here’s a message from a Queens boy to the so-called ‘Proud Boys’ – New York has zero tolerance for your BS.”
McInnes, the event’s speaker, was seen on video posted online carrying a sword as he exited the event and getting in a car. Fox News showed a video clip of McInnes holding the sword up in front of protesters but wrote in a tweet that “Antifa strikes again — swords and vandalism at New York GOP office.”
Proud Boys describes itself as a “pro-Western fraternal organization” who often wear Trump gear to their events, although they claim that being pro-Trump is not a requirement. 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. On the Facebook event page by the Metropolitan Republican Club, McInnes is described 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.”
On McInnes’ Instagram page, he said he would be re-enacting Otoya Yamaguchi’s assassination of the head of the Japanese Socialist Party using a samurai sword at the event.
The building where Friday’s event was held is the city headquarters of the New York State Republican party, and is the headquarters of the Manhattan Republicans, according to CBS New York.
Ahead of Friday’s event, anarchist symbols were graffitied on the door, locks were glued shut and a keypad entrance system was damaged, CBS New York reports. A note was left at the scene as well before alleged vandals ran away.
“Tonight, we put the Republican Party on notice, in defiance to the policy of mass misery they have championed,” the message reads. It goes on to claim the U.S. government has created “concentration camps around the country for Latino people” and “shamelessly murders black people.”
The note also calls Democrats “spineless partners-in-crime” of the Republicans. “Our attack is merely a beginning. We are not passive, we are not civil, and we will not apologize,” the message read.
New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox described the vandalism as “an act of political violence” to CBS New York on Friday ahead of the event. He has not yet commented on Friday night’s melee.