New York, NY – Surveillance video of a fight between protesters and attendees of a Proud Boys event on Friday showed a masked antifa member throw a bottle at a group of Proud Boys, who reacted with violence (video below).
Tensions had been building in the days ahead of Proud Boys Founder Gavin McInnes’ Oct. 12 appearance at the Metropolitan Republican Club on located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the New York Post reported.
The Proud Boys bill themselves as "western chauvinists" and operate as a fraternity that eagerly gets involved in street fights with antifa. They have been accused of being a hate group due to loose affiliation with white nationalists.
The club hosting the event was vandalized at about 1:40 a.m. on the day of the event by two suspects whose images were captured on surveillance video, police said.
They smashed windows, painted anarchist symbols on the doors, and left behind a threatening note, according to the New York Post.
“Our attack is merely a beginning. We are not passive, we are not civil, and we will not apologize,” the vandals wrote.
The club also received threatening phone calls, leading New York Police Department (NYPD) to assign about 50 police officers to the event, including civil unrest squads, The New York Times reported.
McInnes’ speech began smoothly, and went off without any drama, but in the meantime, masked antifa protesters were gathering across the street from the Metropolitan Republican Club.
When the event ended, police kept protesters at bay while attendees of the Proud Boys event left the club single file.
Officers firmly directed the conservative men in the opposite direction, and down the street and around the corner, away from the antifa protesters.
Video of their departure from the club showed the Proud Boys departed in an orderly fashion to the shouts and jeers of antifa protesters.
It wasn’t until the Proud Boys were several blocks away that three antifa approached them on the sidewalk and started a fight, video showed.
A video captured by a building’s surveillance cameras showed a group of at least five black-masked antifa members approaching the line of Proud Boys who were walking down the sidewalk away from the event.
In the video, one of the men hurled a bottle at the Proud Boys, kicking off the fight.
The Proud Boys went after their masked attackers, and initially, the fight was pretty even, the video showed.
The video showed a man in a red Make American Great Again (MAGA) hat being pushed to the ground just off camera, and then a masked antifa kicked him before he was tackled to the ground by more Proud Boys, who delivered a whooping back on them.
Then several Proud Boys dragged another masked antifa member back into the video frame and began punching and kicking him.
One of the proud boys was heard yelling, "Do you feel brave now, f--got?” according to Buzzfeed News, making the fight potentially qualify as a hate crime.
Then some of the Proud Boys tried to end the fight, pulling their friends away from the masked men who were, by then, all lying on the sidewalk.
Less than a minute after the fight began, three NYPD officers arrived on scooters and dispersed those who remained.
The police department faced immediate criticism for their handling of the fights surrounding the event.
The only arrests that were made on Friday night occurred after three masked antifa members attacked an independent journalist for filming their demonstration, according to an interview McInnes gave Newsmax TV.
The victim was able to identify three protesters as his assailants, and police arrested them, The New York Times reported.
But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a state police hate crimes unit to New York City on Sunday, and requested assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, because he wanted a full investigation into the Proud Boys in the video.
New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill defended the officers’ decision not to arrest anybody at that scene during a press conference after an NYPD graduation on Monday.
“Did you see the video?” Commissioner O’Neill asked. “It was two or three cops on scooters. It was a group of about 20 people. As soon as they pulled up, everybody dispersed.”
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told reporters that police were seeking several Proud Boys and several members of antifa who were involved in the altercation caught on video.
"As the individuals came out of the [Metropolitan Republican Club], went to the corner of Park (Avenue) and went south, six [antifa] individuals circled the block and came 82nd Street, Lex to Park, to try to intercept the group that was being escorted south on Park Avenue," Shea explained.
"At some point, we have six individuals wearing masks... that approached from Lex towards Park we believe yelling at group going south on Park. And some of the [Proud Boys] members from the Park Avenue side begin to go on 82nd Street and interact in front of the scaffolding, and that is the video that you saw, the chief of detectives said.
He said the video showed the masked men threw something at the Proud Boys first, WNYW reported.
"And now a fight ensues—you see violence there, kicking," Shea said. "It's approximately 38 seconds between when six dressed in black with masks throw bottle to the uniformed officers arrive on scene with the scooters."
You can see part of the fight in the video below: