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NYPD to pursue charges against 9 members of far-right Proud Boys for violent brawl

CBS News logo CBS News 10/16/2018 Peter Martinez
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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 Friday on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, 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 8:23 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 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.

a close up of a door: Vandals spray-painted the doors of the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York, seen in this photo from Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Vandals spray-painted the doors of the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York, seen in this photo from Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.

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.

Thank you those who’ve submitted info regarding the violent incident which took place on 10-12-18 in the UES. As we further the investigation, we urge additional victims/complainants/witnesses to come forward. If you have info, call CrimeStoppers, 800-577-TIPS pic.twitter.com/amUhGvCJLg

— Chief Dermot F. Shea (@NYPDDetectives) October 15, 2018

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 Monday. "Anyone, from any group, who wishes to take part in violence ... will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted."

We continue to investigate the violent incident on the UES on Friday night, and need information regarding these persons-of-interest. No complaints have been filed. If you were the victim of a crime, or have information about the incident, please call 1-800-577-TIPS. @NYPDTips pic.twitter.com/IXyUXMkORn

— Chief Dermot F. Shea (@NYPDDetectives) October 15, 2018

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."

Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes speaks on stage with members of the Proud Boys organization at the "A Night for Freedom" event organized by Mike Cernovich, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., January 20, 2018. © REUTERS/Andrew Kelly Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes speaks on stage with members of the Proud Boys organization at the "A Night for Freedom" event organized by Mike Cernovich, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., January 20, 2018.

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.


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