Chaos broke out when violent clashes followed a speech by Gavin McInnes in New York City on October 12. The incident led to the arrest of three individuals. According to initial reports, several members of the Proud Boys assaulted and beat three protesters while screaming slurs at them.
Gavin McInnes, the speaker, is the founder of an all-male Republican club called the Proud Boys. The Southern Poverty Law Center has denounced the club as a hate group, and many politicians are also placing blame on the inflammatory group as the cause of the night’s violence. The New York Police Department found videos that surfaced online of the violent clashes which showed several of the group’s members attacking nearby protesters. The authorities are still combing through the videos and may make additional arrests where evidence of violence is found. Three suspects including 35-year-old Caleb Perkins, 20-year-old Kai Russo and 20-year old Finbarr Solnim have been arrested in connection to the assault.
The Governor, Democrat Andrew Cuomo, expressed concern and outrage over the incident. In response to the night’s events, he stated, “Hate cannot and will not be tolerated in New York.” The City Councilman, Rory Lancman, agrees with the rhetoric and has called the instigators “white supremacists” who have committed a “hate crime on the streets of New York City.” Lancman is perturbed that some videos of the incident appear to show police officers present at the scene who witnessed the assault but did not take action.
On the other hand, Republican officials have argued that the Republican’s club was vandalized prior to McInnes arrival. Windows were broken, doors were spray-painted with graffiti and the keypad lock had been covered in glue. The perpetrators allegedly left a note that said the damages were “just the beginning.”