The FBI now classifies the Proud Boys as an "extremist group with ties to white nationalism," The Guardian reports.
The classification was reportedly included in a memo written as part of an internal investigation into a sheriff's deputy in Clark County, Washington, who was fired for wearing a "Proud Boys Girls" sweatshirt. An official at the Clark County sheriff’s department confirmed the memo is authentic, saying that the county was briefed by the FBI and told that the bureau has "warned local law enforcement agencies that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting in the Pacific Northwest."
The Proud Boys was founded in 2016 by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes, who once said on his show that he's "disappointed in Trump supporters for not punching enough." Last month, members of the Proud Boys were arrested and charged with multiple counts including gang assault and rioting after violence between Proud Boys and antifascists broke out outside a McInnes speech in New York, CBS News reports. There was also violence between Proud Boys and Antifa members at a Portland rally that same weekend. This memo was written in August, before additional violence occurred in New York and Portland, but it says that Proud Boys have "contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies" and in cities like Charlottesville.
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The FBI describing the Proud Boys as extremists had not been reported before, but the Southern Poverty Law Center had previously classified them as a hate group, Al Jazeera reports.
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