Proud Boys Views on Violence Take Center Stage at Jan. 6 Trial
The far-right group has maintained that it only uses physical force defensively, but testimony in the seditious conspiracy trial of five of its members has focused on its culture of aggression.
Ever since the Proud Boys burst into the spotlight nearly seven years ago, the far-right group has done a complicated dance around the issue of political violence.
Its leaders have always claimed that members act defensively during protests, raising their fists only to protect themselves or others. We dont start fights, Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys founder, has said more than once. But we will finish them.
At the same time, Mr. McInnes has often spoken with a kind of winking glee about the groups violent tendencies and some of its members have rocketed to fame after dealing brutal blows during street brawls. It is not uncommon to see Proud Boys wearing T-shirts lionizing acts like throwing people out of helicopters or featuring logos reading, Im Just Here for the Violence.
In the past few days, the subject of violence along with the Proud Boys opinions of it has taken center stage at the trial of five members of the group charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
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