The right-wing Proud Boys group has been classified by the FBI as “extremist group with ties to white nationalism,” according to Washington state law enforcement.
The group was founded by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who insists the self-described “western chauvinist group” is not white nationalist or “alt-right,” but federal law enforcement apparently disagrees, reported the Guardian.
“The FBI has warned local law enforcement agencies that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting in the Pacific north-west,” the newly revealed document reads. “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, which was provided to the Guardian by the non-profit Property of the People watchdog group, was part of an internal affairs investigation into Erin Willey, a probationary deputy in the Clark County sheriff’s department who was fired after a photo surfaced of her wearing a “Proud Boys Girls” sweatshirt.
Willey was fired July 17, a few weeks before the document was produced, and a few months before the Proud Boys were involved in a weekend of street violence in New York City and Portland.
Document author Michael McCabe, a headquarters commander who oversees internal affairs and training for Clark County sheriff’s department, said an FBI analyst briefed local law enforcement on extremist groups and the threat they believed the Proud Boys pose to security.
The FBI listed the Proud Boys among currently active hate/extremist groups currently active in the Pacific Northwest, and urged law enforcement to look out for officers or other employees who are involved in the group.