NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued a pointed response to outbreaks of political violence over the weekend involving members of a far-right group and protestors and his Republican gubernatorial opponent has also called for an end to the brutality.
Members of the “Proud Boys,” a self-styled “pro-Western, fraternal organization,” were videotaped Friday night in a violent altercation with protesters after the group’s leader Gavin McInnis delivered a speech at the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan.
The club’s event promotion for McInnis read, “Banned from Twitter, this Godfather of the Hipster Movement has taken on and exposed the Deep State Socialists and stood up for Western Values. Join us for an unforgettable evening with one of Liberty’s Loudest Voices!”
Photojournalist Shay Horse tweeted at 10:20 p.m., “Followed the Proud Boys as they left the event. About 1-2 blocks away a 30 (proud boys) vs. 3 fight broke out. It ended with 30 proud boys pummeling a guy on the ground.”
According to a statement released by the New York Police Department, three individuals were charged with misdemeanor assault, larceny and harassment, and the victim was speaking with investigators.
The statement said the New York Police Department (NYPD) is reviewing additional video and other forms of evidence evidence from Friday, Oct. 12 to determine if other crimes were committed, and if so, “identify those perpetrators and make further arrests as warranted.”
Cuomo issued a terse Saturday statement: “Here’s a message from a Queens boy to the so-called ‘proud boys’ — New York has zero tolerance for your BS.”
On Sunday morning, Cuomo held an impromptu phone conference with press organizations across the state to address the incident and its aftermath in more detail and answer questions from reporters. He said he plans to ask the state police hate crimes division and FBI to work with the NYPD to pull together their intelligence resources concerning the Proud Boys.
Cuomo maintained that President Donald Trump is culpable for inciting the incident by introducing hate and violence to the mainstream of his party as a means of galvanizing voter base ahead of midterms. He repeatedly stressed that the politics of hate and violence are contrary to New York and American principles.
“Bottom line is I hold the president responsible,” Cuomo said. “Why would the Republicans at their main club invite the Proud Boys, who are known to be a hate group? Why would they invite them to attend a rally just 20-something days before the midterms? I also don’t believe in coincidences.”
On Friday, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro reported that his campaign headquarters was “attacked” on Thursday night, with “broken windows, spray paint (and) threatening message,” Molinaro said on Twitter.
“Stop this now,” Molinaro said, directing his ire to Cuomo. “We demand civility.”
On Sunday, Molinaro issued a statement condemning the weekend’s clashes, saying, “there is simply no place for violence and hate.”
“We cannot let our differences erupt in violence,” Molinaro said on Twitter. “There is no room for it no matter who perpetrates it. We are all better than that. We are one New York, one America.”