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NYPD makes arrest in connection with violent Proud Boys brawl

A man believed to be a member of the far-right group the Proud Boys was arrested Thursday in connection to a brawl last week in New York City after a speech by the group's founder. Geoffrey Young, 38, has been charged with riot and attempted assault, the New York Police Department said.

The fight, caught on surveillance video, occurred near the Metropolitan Republican Club around 8:23 p.m. following a speech by Proud Boys leader Gavin McInnes. Anti-fascist protesters had gathered outside the building, prompting police to escort some of those inside the club in the opposite direction following the event. 

An altercation broke out about a block away when six people dressed in black and wearing masks confronted that group, NYPD's Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Monday. One of those dressed in black threw a bottle at the Proud Boys group and a fight ensued for about 38 seconds until uniformed officers intervened.

Slurs and expletives can be heard in video showing the fight, as men kicked and punched several protesters on the sidewalk. The NYPD released footage Monday showing the altercation from an alternate angle in hopes of identifying the participants. 

Persons-of-interest who officials seek to identify. NYPD

The NYPD said Monday they were seeking charges against 12 people, including nine Proud Boys members. They were also looking for more information from witnesses. 

Three people were arrested in connection to a separate incident that occurred several blocks away, where a man flagged down an officer to report that a group of up to 10 people had robbed him, the NYPD said Monday. Police didn't immediately make clear if those in custody were affiliated with the Proud Boys or the group of protesters.

Ahead of the speech, vandals smashed windows, filled a keypad lock with glue and spray-painted the doors of the Metropolitan Republican Club. A note left at the scene said the damage was "just the beginning." 

Proud Boys describes itself as a "pro-Western fraternal organization." The Southern Poverty Law Center says the Proud Boys and their leaders "regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists."

McInnes, who co-founded Vice Media and left the company in 2008, created the Proud Boys in 2016. The club's Facebook event for the speech described him as the "rebel of the right" and "banned from Twitter — this Godfather of the Hipster Movement has taken on and exposed the Deep State Socialists and stood up for Western Values."

In wake of the melee, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blamed Republicans and President Trump for the violence. In a call with reporters on Sunday, Cuomo said inviting McInnes to speak at the club was a "political tactic, because what they're trying to do is fire up their base" ahead of the midterm elections, The Associated Press reported.

"Why would the Republican Party at their main club invite the Proud Boys?" Cuomo asked.

The Democratic governor said he had directed the state police to assist the NYPD in the probe. Elected officials were outraged over the online videos showing the violence, saying they showed Proud Boys members were involved and should face consequences. 

Peter Martinez contributed to this report. 

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