Proud Boys members sentenced to four years in prison for violent clash with antifa

Maxwell Hare, 27, and John Kinsman, 40, had been convicted of attempted gang assault, attempted assault and riot in August.
Image:
John Kinsman, left, and Maxwell Hare with a court officer on July 31 in a Manhattan courtroom.Mark Lennihan / AP file

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By Theo Wayt

Two members of the far-right group the Proud Boys were each sentenced to four years in prison and five years post-release supervision on Tuesday for their involvement in a violent 2018 clash with anti-fascist protesters in New York City, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said.

Maxwell Hare, 27, and John Kinsman, 40, had been convicted of attempted gang assault, attempted assault and riot in August. The jury in State Supreme Court had rejected the defendants’ claims that they had acted in self-defense.

Hare and Kinsman are two of 10 Proud Boys members who were charged in connection with the October 2018 brawl, in which they beat four anti-fascist – also known as “antifa” – protestors after an event featuring Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes at the Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

“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,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.

The Proud Boys, who self-identify as “western chauvinists,” have been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Former Proud Boys member Jason Kessler helped organize the 2017 white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a rallygoer slammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing anti-racist activist Heather Heyer.

Antifa is a loosely organized movement of left-wing activists who often protest right-wing groups. In August, just days before Hare and Kinsman were convicted, at least 13 people were arrested when antifa protested a Proud Boys gathering in Portland, Oregon.

Seven of the Proud Boys members who were charged took plea deals and one is still awaiting trial, according to the DA’s office.