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Two members of Proud Boys convicted in New York City brawl with antifa

The two men claim that the October 2018 incident, when they beat four antifa protesters after an appearance by the Proud Boys' founder at a Republican club, was self defense.
John Kinsman, left, and Maxwell Hare with a court officer on July 31 in a Manhattan courtroom. Mark Lennihan / AP file

Two members of the far-right Proud Boys were convicted Monday of attempted gang assault, attempted assault and riot for their role in a brawl with anti-fascist protesters last fall on the Upper East Side.

The jury in State Supreme Court in Manhattan rejected claims by the defendants, Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman, that they had acted in self-defense in the October 2018 incident, in which they beat four antifa (short for "anti-fascist") protesters after an appearance by Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes at the Metropolitan Republican Club.

Hare and Kinsman were among 10 Proud Boys members who were charged in connection to the brawl. The Proud Boys are self-identified "western chauvinists," and the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated them a hate group. Antifa is a loosely organized movement of left-wing activists and self-described anarchists.

“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,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement. “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."

At about 8 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2018, several members of the Proud Boys were leaving an event at the Metropolitan Republican Club while members of antifa protested outside, according to prosecutors.

As they exited the event, Hare, Kinsman and others from their group taunted members of antifa and made verbal and nonverbal threats, prosecutors said.

Members of the New York Police Department stationed at the venue intervened and directed the protesters southbound on Lexington Avenue, while the Proud Boys headed southbound on Park Avenue.

Antifa protesters later intercepted Hare, Kinsman, and at least eight other Proud Boys, where the defendants charged at them and a dispute ensued, according to prosecutors.

Hare, Kinsman and others then assaulted four antifa members, striking them with their hands, fists, feet, elbows and boots until NYPD officers arrived, prosecutors said.

Members of both groups fled. Hare and Kinsman were arrested days later.

Hare and Kinsman are due back in court for sentencing on Oct. 11.