NYPD investigators were searching Monday for 12 suspects among opposing political demonstrators who clashed Friday night after a meeting at a private Republican club in Manhattan, officials said Monday.
The fisticuffs, caught by a surveillance camera, broke out about 8:30 p.m. after members of the alt-right Proud Boys left a political meeting at the Metropolitan Republican Club on Park Avenue with a police scooter escort. As the group walked on Park Avenue, they were set upon by black-clad protesters, apparently from the anti-fascist Antifa group, police officials said in a briefing Monday.
Video of the confrontation shows a group of black clad individuals walking on 82nd Street near Park Avenue before brawling with Proud Boy members who appeared to have approached from the opposite direction. One of those dressed in black, who police indicated was part of the Antifa group, is seen on video throwing a bottle in the direction of the Proud Boys.
In the resulting fight, four Antifa members appeared to be getting the worst of it, with some being kicked and punched while on the ground. The videotaped portion of the melee shown at the briefing lasted about 38 seconds, at which point, NYPD motorcycle cops escorting the Proud Boys march, doubled back and stopped the altercation, Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told reporters.
Asked if there were enough police officers on the scene when the fighting began, Chief of Department Terence Monahan admitted that the way the Antifa group looped around the block to engage the Proud Boys took officers by surprise.
“They flanked us and we would have possibly [covered] the flank a little better," Monahan said. "But for the most part, I think the response was pretty good.”
He said the NYPD had deployed several dozen NYPD members.
“We had 48 people officers on the scene, we had an inspector on the scene, five sergeants, we had a lot of personnel,” Monahan said.
In another altercation a few blocks away, 10 people associated with Antifa set upon a Proud Boys member who fled after dropping his back pack, Shea said, and when he returned to retrieve it, he told police his wallet and other property were missing.
Police showed images of nine individuals, apparent Proud Boys members, who they were seeking on possible riot and attempted-assault charges, Shea said. Two people from the Antifa side were being sought for related charges while investigators were searching for another Antifa supporter for theft, Shea said.
Through a spokesman, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was pleased with the police probe and that more arrests were expected.
With Matthew Chayes and AP