Two members of the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys were convicted of attempted gang assault, attempted assault, and riot for their part in a fight with anti-fascist protestors in New York City last October, The New York Times reports.
Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman were accused of beating four antifa protestors reportedly tied outside the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City last October, following a speech by founder Gavin McInnes (McInnes resigned from the group last year). Hare and Kinsman both claimed they were acting in self defense, but the jury in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan ruled against them.
Hare and Kinsman will return to court October 11th to face sentencing. They both face a maximum sentence of up to 15 years for the most serious count, attempted gang assault.
In a statement, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said, “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. These defendants transformed a quiet, residential street into the site of a battle-royale, kicking and beating four individuals in a brutal act of political violence.”
Hare and Kinsman’s trial was centered around video of the altercation, as none of their alleged victims took the stand because they declined to speak with police after the incident. And while the protestors would have also been subject to arrest for their role in the fight, charges were never brought because authorities were never able to identify them (in documents, they were referred to as “Shaved Head,” “Ponytail,” “Khaki,” and “Spike Belt”). As a result of their unwillingness to come forward, though, prosecutors were only able to pursue attempted assault charges against Hare and Kinsman, as regular assault charges require evidence of injury.
Hare and Kinsman’s attorneys spent much of the trial trying shore up their clients’ self-defense claims by putting the blame for the fight on antifa (at one point Kinsman’s lawyer even suggested that the loose-knit organization was secretly working with the New York DA’s office). In turn, prosecutors argued that the Proud Boys were an inherently violent group and focused on video footage in which Hare and Kinsman could be seen taunting protestors and bragging about their exploits during the brawl.