A suspected member of pro-Western men’s group Proud Boys was arrested Thursday night, Oct. 18, after the NYPD put out a call to the public to help them identify Proud Boys who were caught on camera brawling with the far-left extremist group, Antifa.
Geoffrey Young, 38, was one of the men seen in the video brawling with Antifa members on Oct. 12, a clash that ensued after Proud Boys leader Gavin McInnes spoke at the Metropolitan Republican Club headquarters.
The brawl appeared to start after an Antifa member threw an object, later identified as a bottle, at the Proud Boys, who then rushed forward and began punching the black-clad and masked group.
NYPD officers broke up the fight and people scattered; three Antifa members, identified as Finbarr Slonim, Kai Russo, and Caleb Perkins, were caught and arrested by officers.
Police then made the footage public and asked for public help to identify nine suspected Proud Boys members and three additional suspected Antifa members.
“We need your help identifying these individuals,” the NYPD said, noting people could send a message on Twitter to the NYPD Tips account or call 800-577-TIPS.
Young was charged with rioting and attempted assault, police told CBS.
BREAKING: @NYPDDetectives have arrested Geoffrey Young, 38, of the Proud Boys in connection with brawl last week, according to law enforcement sources. He’s charged with attempted assault and riot. pic.twitter.com/JKn3t0PJBI
— Myles Miller (@MylesMill) October 19, 2018
Attempt to Stop McInnes
Leading up to the talk, the club was vandalized and defaced in an attempt to force officials there to disinvite McInnes, describing him as “a hipster-fascist clown.”
The invitation to the event had described McInnes as the “Godfather of the Hipster Movement” who had “taken on and exposed the Deep State Socialists and stood up for Western Values.”
The Metropolitan Club said that it would not bow to the intimidation attempts.
“Rest assured that we will not be intimidated by violence, threats, or hate speech. We will continue to fight for freedom of speech and liberty here in New York City and all across this great nation,” it said in a statement.
Help us identify these suspects #wanted for criminal mischief of the @metgopclub -122 East 83 Street on 10/21 at approximately 1:40am. These suspects vandalized exterior of building & left threatening notes for further attacks.
Please ☎️ #800577TIPS with any info. #UpperEastSide pic.twitter.com/sA3ECUHBAD
— NYPD 19th Precinct (@NYPD19Pct) October 15, 2018
Controversy Over Proud Boys
A number of media outlets have described Proud Boys as part of the “alt-right” or “far-right,” elastic terms that can mean different things to different people.
The latest example was published after the fight by the New York Times. While focusing on McInnes and his group, the outlet failed to mention Antifa even once, describing the brawl as being between the Proud Boys and “anti-fascist demonstrators.”
Antifa openly employs fascist tactics such as using violence in order to silence others, including bystanders who film them during clashes. The outlet also published a picture of the Proud Boys that incorrectly described the common “OK” hand symbol as a “white power hand symbol,” ignoring the debunking of that myth and the men in the picture who are clearly not white.
McInnes told the outlet that his group is for people who are trying to gather in a normal setting to discuss Western values. “This movement is normal people trying to live their lives getting attacked by mentally ill lunatics,” he said.
“It’s a celebration of the West, of America, and of freedom and liberty,” added Pawl Bazile, the editor of the group’s magazine, describing the Proud Boys’ monthly meet-ups.
Critics allege that the Proud Boys includes white nationalists.
“Rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric,” according to the liberal nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center.
In blog posts, McInnes has hit back against specific descriptions in articles such as “We Are Not Alt-Right” where he notes the differences between the Proud Boys, who openly encourage non-white members to join them, and white nationalists, who promote socialism, eschew Christianity, and have “an obsession with Hitler.”
“The second you see signs of … white nationalism, show them the door. To be clear: All white nationalists / anti-Semites are banned from Proud Boys even if they never bring up said topics,” he wrote.