Police Arrest First Proud Boy. Surprise! He Also Likes Beating Up Women.
Last night, the NYPD finally got around to arresting one of the "Proud Boys" responsible for assaulting several activists this past weekend. Said "Proud Boy" was 38-year-old New York City resident Geoffrey Owens, who was charged with "riot and attempted assault" -- an odd choice given that there is actual video of these people surrounding the activists and beating and kicking them in true American History X fashion.
Reportedly, there is an NYPD investigation into the rest of the Proud Boys involved in this weekend's assault.
Personally, I wouldn't hold my breath, although it's nice to see that public pressure can accomplish a little, every once in a while.
Young is, it turns out, not an unknown entity. Prior to his arrest, while the police were still "looking" for him, an anonymous woman published an essay on Medium saying that she was the young Muslim woman Young had previously bragged about beating on Facebook.
"Tourists have videos for sure I saw them while bashing that terrorist breeder I adjusted my hat for a picture [sic, sic, sic]," Young wrote in conversation with fellow Proud Boy Jovi Val -- a friend of noted white supremacist Jason Kessler and one of the few people to show up to this year's Unite The Right rally.
Be forewarned, the assault the woman describes is pretty freaking harrowing:
I am a Brown Muslim woman. On June 10, 2017 I attended a counter-protest demonstrating against the "March Against Shariah," a nationwide anti-Muslim event organized by the SPLC-designated hate group "ACT For America." When the event ended at 2pm, the counter protest marched to City Hall and dispersed. I had left the march and went to Starbucks. On my to my train station I encountered a group of 4 men wearing "Make America Great Again" hats and "Proud Boys" shirts, who then began harassing me because I was wearing a shirt with Arabic writing on it. One of the men singled me out and repeatedly yelled Islamophobic and misogynistic comments. He told me that my family and I should "go back to our country." He called me a "terrorist" and said that a "Muslim slut" like me should be killed, along with my family.
Alone, surrounded, and fearing for my safety, I threw my iced coffee toward him and tried to get away.
He became instantly enraged and lunged toward me. He grabbed me by the throat and pushed me up against the wall. He held me there in a choke-hold, but because I was struggling he slammed me to the ground and tried to put his whole body on top of mine. I kept fighting back so he slammed me again on my left side and pushed my face into the sidewalk, and then slammed me one more time before he put his knee on the back of my head while he kept trying to choke me. During all of this I remember telling him to stop and that he was choking me, but he said "I can still hear you breathing" and choked me even harder. While I was being attacked, one of the other men stole my phone, slammed it on the concrete, and then threw it into the stree. It was completely destroyed.
Following that assault, Young changed his bio on Facebook to note that he was now a "Fourth Degree Proud Boy."
How does one become a Fourth Degree Proud Boy, you ask? By shedding blood. By engaging in conflict at a protest. By beating up a small Muslim woman. This -- along with the fact that the Proud Boys were filmed chasing activists down the street in order to bludgeon them -- really goes against the whole "Oh! We're only defending ourselves! Can't blame us for that!" line that Proud Boy leader Gavin McInnes is trying to float. I'd also like to point out that in the official Proud Boy obituary of a guy I actually used to be good friends with many years ago (which I won't link to), he was described as someone who "was not afraid to take the fight to Antifa." Nice!
These people have no qualms about going around assaulting people, including women -- but not only that, as you can see in the videos, they take joy in it. They are smiling and laughing as they surround and kick another human being. This, for them, is a fabulous, joyous time. And meanwhile, just as Trump hailed Greg Gianforte for having body slammed a reporter last night, few on the Right are doing much to try and distance themselves from them or their violence. Many of them, like Sean Hannity, are even trying to defend them. Because this is the kind of shit they are into.
Just as their screaming about Elizabeth Warren has absolutely nothing to do with any great respect or care for Native Americans, all the screaming they do about Antifa has nothing to do with any disdain for violence. They love violence! Violence is their favorite! They just think that this is a good PR move for them.
Hopefully, Young will be charged with more than just "attempted assault." Hopefully there will be more Proud Boys charged. More hopefully, people will start to see, however, that this group is not a "fringe" group, that McInnes isn't simply a provocateur, but that these groups, their views and their actions, represent the current Republican Party and the Right at large.
*UPDATE* The remaining 8 Proud Boys sought by police will reportedly turn themselves in by the end of the day.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse