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With Sheriff's Memo, a Blow to the Proud Boys

Document reveals FBI designation of group as 'extremist'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2018 9:25 AM CST
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, center, is surrounded by supporters at a rally in Berkeley, Calif., on April 27, 2017.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(Newser) – The FBI considered the far-right "chauvinist" Proud Boys to be an extremist group even before members were accused in an alleged assault in New York City last month. That's according to a document from the Clark County Sheriff's Office in Vancouver, Wash., shared by nonprofit Property of the People. It explicitly states the FBI considers the "Proud Boys to be an extremist group with ties to white nationalism," though the FBI has previously made no public classification on the issue, per the Guardian. Warning about "recent escalation of violence at political rallies" and ongoing recruitment in the Pacific Northwest, the document was issued over the summer as part of an investigation into former Clark County Deputy Erin Willey, fired last year over alleged involvement with Proud Boys' Girls, the female branch of the male-only group.

According to the document, Proud Boys membership may violate the oath of sheriff deputies to support and protect US laws since members have "called for the closure of all prisons, the issuing of firearms to everyone ... and the shutdown of the government." But "any time you are dealing with groups who are espousing hate, it's certainly a concern for law enforcement," Clark County Commander Michael McCabe tells the Guardian, noting he learned of the FBI classification of the Proud Boys in a Aug. 2 briefing delivered by an FBI analyst. Failing to address the designation, the FBI says it "regularly assesses intelligence regarding possible threats" and shares that information with law enforcement partners. The Southern Poverty Law Center already views Proud Boys as a hate group, per the Washington Post. (Andrew Cuomo is on the same page.)

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