Proud Boys Members Convicted of Attempted Gang Assault in New York Brawl With Antifa

August 19, 2019 Updated: August 19, 2019

Two members of the Proud Boys were found guilty of three crimes stemming from a brawl between the men’s rights group and the far-left Antifa group that took place in New York City last year.

Maxwell Hare, 27, and John Kinsman, 39, were found guilty of attempted gang assault, riot, and attempted assault, reported the Wall Street Journal. Ten Proud Boys were charged after the brawl, which video footage indicated was started by Antifa, and nine have now been convicted or pleaded guilty.

Justice Mark Dwyer let Hare and Kinsman go on bail as they await sentencing. Both face up to 15 years in prison and are slated to receive their sentences on Oct. 15.

Lawyers for the men said Antifa initiated the fight when one of the black-clad masked Antifa members chucked a bottle at the group of Proud Boys after approaching them.

Combined with threatening phone calls they received in the days leading up to an Oct. 12 speech by Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys founder, at Manhattan’s Republican Club, led the men to feel they needed to defend themselves when the Antifa members approached and threw the bottle, the lawyers said.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said that the men’s actions went beyond self-defense.

“What these defendants did was beyond overkill,” Steinglass said in court. “Words alone, unaccompanied by physical threats or acts does not make a person the original aggressor.”

Footage played in court showing Kinsman body-slamming one Antifa member before kicking him and showing Hare punching another Antifa member more than once.

Most of the other Proud Boys were convicted or pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Geoffrey Young, 38, for instance, was sentenced to 40 weekends in jail in July for misdemeanor rioting and attempted assault, which he pleaded guilty to the month prior, reported the New York Post.

Jake Freijo, 27, and Eryk Kaczynski, 22, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and were sentenced to five days of community service earlier in the year, according to reports.

Before the Fight, and After

Prior to McInnes’s speech, the Metropolitan Republican Club was defaced with anarchist symbols. “Our attack is merely a beginning. We are not passive, we are not civil, and we will not apologize,” a message left at the club read.

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 Republican 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.

Antifa members protested the event and charged the group of Proud Boys afterward. The pro-Western values group has long said it only defends itself, and after getting a bottle thrown at it the group started beating the Antifa members.

Video footage was released by the NYPD along with still images from footage showing men who police said they were searching for.

Right wing provocateur Gavin McInnes
Vice co-founder and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes (C) pumps his fist during a rally at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley, Calif., on April 27, 2017. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

McInnes later said that all of the men wanted by the NYPD would surrender.

At least three men linked to Antifa—Finbarr Slonim, Kai Russo, and Caleb Perkins—were reported to have been arrested for chasing a man who ran away from them and punching him. They were let out without bail on charges of felony burglary and misdemeanor assault, police told the New York Post. It’s not clear what happened to the men, though a Proud Boys magazine said they “got off with misdemeanors and probation” after a “speedy trial.”

At least three other Antifa members were reported to be wanted by police but the New York Times reported that police couldn’t identify them, adding, the Antifa members “refused to speak with a police officer who approached them after the incident.” According to the Times, that’s why the Proud Boys were charged with attempted assault as opposed to assault.

Prior to the sentencing, Oren Segal of the Anti-Defamation League told the jury that Antifa members “physically confront those who they view as Nazis and fascists,” with loose definitions of both terms, while Proud Boys see themselves as defending conservative values and like to attack violent leftists. He also said the group has used improper language about Muslims and women and that “violence is built into the ideology.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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