Proud Boys Labeled "Extremist" by FBI Despite Group's Affinity with Police
Despite an apparent affinity between police and the Proud Boys, the FBI has described the right-wing organization as an "extremist group with ties to white nationalism."
The revelation was made public on Monday after documents surfaced about a sheriff's deputy in Washington who was fired in August for her affiliation with the group.
Clark County sheriff's deputy Erin Willey is at least the second law enforcement officer in the country this year to lose a job over an affiliation with the Proud Boys.
Police have also been accused of turning a blind eye to the violent antics of the Proud Boys in clashes against counter-protesters on the streets, including in New York City on October 12 as well as in Portland on October 13.
And Proud Boys founder Gavin McInness brags about how he "has a lot of support in the NYPD" – not to mention the fact that a Border Patrol union was featured in a documentary supporting the Proud Boys.
McInness launched the Proud Boys in 2016 so it's a relatively new organization.
However, the FBI has been warning law enforcement agencies about white supremacists infiltrating their ranks since at least 2006.
But has law enforcement heeded the FBI's warning?
Since facing public criticism for not arresting Proud Boys members for assaulting counter protesters on the streets last month, the NYPD has distanced itself from any affiliation with the Proud Boys.
To further prove they are not connected with the Proud Boys, the New York City Police Department began making arrests of those Proud Boys members caught on video attacking others, but only after more than a week of scrutiny went by.
Meanwhile, Portland police were just accused of being "evasive" in explaining to city officials why there was a perception they protect right-wing protesters over left-wing protesters during rallies in which the groups clash.
The Proud Boys has also been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that has been accused of being overzealous in labeling groups in order to receive donations.
However, now that the FBI has labeled the Proud Boys an extremist hate group, it will be much harder to shed that racist image.
McInness, who also co-founded Vice Media in 1994, denies any ties to white supremacy.
Instead, he insists the group only believes in the superiority of western civilization, which is arguably the same thing even though the group does boasts on its website that is accepts "all races" and "all religions," either "gay or straight."
The only requirement to join the group is that "you must be a man and you must love the west," according to the group's web site.
Applicants, who must first go through a beating to be initialized into the group, must also recite the following passage before becoming a member.
> “I am a Western chauvinist and I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world."
While women are not allowed to join the Proud Boys, they are encouraged to join the Proud Boys Girls, which is the female branch of the right-wing group.
Willey, the Clark County sheriff's deputy, had joined the Proud Boys Girls through a man she was dating who was a member of the Proud Boys.
That man, Graham Jorgensen, is also believed to have sent a local newspaper a photo of Willey in a Proud Boys shirt, which sparked the investigation.
Jorgensen was apparently upset that she broke up with him, so he got her fired. He is not facing charges.
The 16-page report, written by Clark County Commander Michael S. McCabe and dated August 10, 2018, was first published on Property of the People, a nonprofit that specializes in keeping government transparent through public records requests.
It marked the first time it became publicly known how the tight-lipped FBI views the Proud Boys.
According to the Guardian, the first news site to publish the report.
> “The FBI has warned local law enforcement agencies that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting in the Pacific north-west”, and: “Proud Boys members have contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.”
> The report and FBI’s warning comes after escalating violence in the last few months. The group created an infamous weekend of violence in both New York City and Portland, where they attacked those with different beliefs, nationality, and race.
The report states that by joining the Proud Boys Girls, Willey may have violated her oath to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office since Proud Boys believe in closing all prisons and legalizing all drugs.
Carlos Miller contributed to this report.