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NYC press conference slams attacks by Proud Boys

By staff |
October 21, 2018
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 NYC press conference condemns attacks by Proud Boys
(Fight Back! News/staff)

New York, NY - Organizers from across the five boroughs joined together for a press conference, Oct. 19, decrying the recent assaults by Proud Boys and 211 Bootboys on community members. The organizations and speakers at the conference not only called attention to the violent assaults and the ultra-right wing groups behind them, but also to the collusion between these street gangs and the New York Police Department.

The brutal attacks in question took place on October 12, following an event at the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan. The Proud Boys and other fascists joined together to reenact and pay homage to the infamous assassination of Japanese socialist Inejiro Asanuma on live television in 1960. During the reenactment, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes played the role of the murderer, a far-right extremist.

After the reenactment, the Proud Boys decided to manifest their venomous ideology in the streets of New York City, carrying out a burst of racist brutality of their own. Taking to the streets in mob clusters, a group of at least nine Proud Boys walked the street blocks surrounding the Metropolitan Republic Club, looking for anti-fascist and anti-racist demonstrators to brutalize. Shocking video footage that has come out in the following days shows that the Proud Boys’ search for targets met with success. After surrounding individuals on the sidewalk, the gang of Proud Boys assaulted the victims repeatedly, kicking and punching them in the face and head while yelling homophobic slurs.

Subsequent research and investigation carried out by private civilians has revealed that at least one of the assailants caught on video that night, Irvin Antillon, was also present at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which ended in the murder of Heather Heyer and injury to scores of others when a far-right extremist drove his automobile through a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators.

Organizations represented at the press conference included Peoples Power Assemblies, as well as the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR). One member of CSFR highlighted in particular the role of the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group (SRG) in coordinating with the Proud Boys and the 211 Bootboys. CSFR called on those present to “keep in mind that the Strategic Response Group was created due to the increasing awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2015,” and is “funded by the Department of Homeland Security.”

Not only did the NYPD Strategic Response Group fail to detain a single Proud Boy on the night of the assaults, but the SRG officers allegedly went so far as to direct the egress of Proud Boys out of the Gavin McInnes event, telling them which streets to take when leaving the facility and timing their exits to shield them from the shame of walking past protesters. This close coordination and collaboration between the SRG and the Proud Boys gave these fascist thugs the sense of security and protection that emboldened them to carry out their vicious, homophobic violence that night. As Gavin McInnes himself has stated “I have a lot of support in the NYPD and I very much appreciate that.”

Since its creation in 2015, the SRG has grown in force from 350 officers to a total of 800. The SRG functions as a wholly unaccountable, non-transparent goon squad that is disconnected from any individual precinct and which is primarily deployed to carry out mass arrests of protesters - often using brutal tactics and leaving demonstrators in need of medical assistance, for example during the rallies in solidarity with Botham Shem Jean in September of this year and the J-20 protests following the Trump inauguration.

The fact that this particular ‘specialized’ unit within the NYPD is unmoored from any precinct-limited jurisdiction and was designed as an explicitly anti-protest task force has led many to call for its abolition. The Committee to Stop FBI Repression has been leading the way on this campaign and is demanding a complete defunding of the SRG along with an end to the targetting and surveillance of anti-war and anti-racist organizers and activists.

As the CSFR representative at the press conference stated, “to the NYPD, to SRG, to TARU, to the 19th precinct, you are not on the right side of history. We will not be oppressed by the Republicans, Democrats, the NYPD and their task forces, nor by neo-nazis, nazi sympathizers, or Proud Boys. We will organize and will always fight back at injustices. We are demanding the NYPD be held accountable for defending white supremacy.”

To get involved in the CSFR campaign against the Strategic Response Group goon squad, or for more information on the ongoing investigation into the Proud Boys assaults and the NYPD’s tacit enabling of these fascist gangs, contact the organization at facebook.com/csfrny or email [email protected].