Two members of the extremist street gang known as the Proud Boys were sentenced Tuesday to four years in a New York prison after attacking protesters outside a GOP event in Manhattan last year.
Maxwell Hare, 27, and John Kinsman, 32, were two of 10 Proud Boys arrested in the assault caught on camera in October 2018. Prosecutors slapped them with charges of attempted gang assault, attempted assault and rioting, declaring them the most vicious assailants that night. Their four-year sentence will include another five years of supervised release, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office confirmed to HuffPost.
The heavier sentences are a huge blow to the Proud Boys, who have been able to host semi-regular street brawls with few to no consequences in cities outside of New York. In Portland, Oregon, for example, they continue to organize violent fascist rallies despite admitting on camera that they host these events to spur fights, waste city resources and then blame anti-fascist protesters when the dust settles.
Kinsman and Hare’s crew tried a similar tactic in this case, claiming that they acted in self-defense when they beat down protesters outside the Metropolitan Republican Club after an event hosted by Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes. But video evidence — shot by reporter Sandi Bachom — proved otherwise, and Manhattan prosecutors never bought the line. They eventually charged the Proud Boys as what they are: a gang.
“As violent extremism rises in America, a Manhattan jury has declared in one voice that New Yorkers will not tolerate mob violence in our own backyard,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement after the convictions in August.
Justice Mark Dwyer, who presided over the case, also connected the Proud Boys and McInnes, who has repeatedly tried to distance himself from his gang as its members face charges and get involved in scandals related to the violence they commit.
The DA’s office confirmed that Dwyer called the Proud Boys McInnes’ “soldiers” in court, as first reported on Twitter by reporter Ali Winston.
After the sentencing, McInnes doubled down on Telegram, saying the two men were “defending themselves,” and blamed the work of various extremism reporters ― including two at HuffPost ― for their sentences. In reality, McInnes helped arrange their surrender, The New York Times reported.
Eight other Proud Boys were convicted on various charges in connection with the street brawl, including disorderly conduct and riot, and their sentences ranged from five days of community service to 10 months in jail.
The all-male Proud Boys organization — which describes its members as “Western chauvinists” — has been characterized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spreading white nationalism, misogyny and Islamophobia.
Though they resent the characterization of their ranks as violent, HuffPost revealed in May that the Proud Boys spend months before their rallies plotting optics and tactics to attack protesters and get away without charges.