Two members of the Proud Boys were sentenced to four years in prison each after fighting members of Antifa in October of last year, ABC reports.
The incident took place outside a venue where Proud Boys founder and media commentator Gavin McInnes was giving a speech. The Proud Boys members, 27-year-old Maxwell Hare and 40-year-old John Kinsman, were among those who were attacked by Antifa protesters, with one of them instigating the brawl by throwing a bottle at the Proud Boys.
The judge in the case, Mark Dwyer, openly admitted that his reasoning for the harsh sentence was largely political: He compared the incident to “political street brawls” reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s, indirectly comparing the Proud Boys to Nazis. Dwyer said his goal was to dissuade people from such violence by making an example out of Hare and Kinsman.
The Antifa rioters who started the violence were never found, and the organization has explicitly refused to cooperate with police, thus leaving most of the focus on the Proud Boys. Prosecutors have maintained that if the Antifa members who started the fight had been found, they too would have been prosecuted.
Both Hare and Kinsman expressed regret at their sentencing. Kinsman is married with three children, including a newborn that he will not see until the child is five years old due to his sentence.
Proud Boys was founded by McInnes in 2016 as a male advocacy and pro-Western Civilization fraternal organization. It has repeatedly and falsely been labeled as “far-right” by the media and a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Proud Boys have repeatedly fought back against Antifa riots, including, most prominently, in the city of Portland, Oregon.
In addition to Hare and Kinsman, seven other members of the Proud Boys took plea deals for their role in the fight, while one other member is awaiting his own trial.