In 2022, several protests against artists reading to children in libraries across the United States erupted in the United States, with cCounter-protests by performers lead to fragile scenes and arrests.
Far-right organizations such as the Proud Boys have had a consistent presence at these events, the most recent of which took place on December 29, 2022 at the Jacksons Heights Queens Public Library in Jackson Heights, New York.
While the demonstration received much press coverage, a social media post, garnering millions of views across multiple platforms, suggested that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) later in the day gave anti-drag protesters special treatment in the metro offered by the city.
A video posted to TikTok, Twitter, Reddit and Instagram with the caption “NYPD allows Proud Boys to commit fare evasion in Queens, NYC” shows what appears to be a group of people, some wearing Proud Boys insignia, doing the Newcomers use York subway without paying fares.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 3.3 million times on TikTok alone, a person behind the camera asks, “Don’t Proud Boys have to pay the fare?” to which a man replies, “We’re special, thank you.”
At another point, the person filming the video asks, “Oh, I have to pay the fare, but they’re not right? Is that the situation you’re saying?” to which an NYPD officer appears to reply, “That’s right.”
The video was shared on other platforms including Reddit, where just one post received more than 46,000 upvotes. But not everyone was convinced that the video showed something shameful.
“If the proud boys have legally obtained a permit for their gathering, that’s not strange. Normally, the city will work out transportation and security in exchange for smoother logistics. In my city, the police have paid buses to bring BLM protesters back to their parked cars because they organized the march route with the police and discussed law enforcement presence and role in the protest. The event went like butter,” argued one Reddit user.
The user who posted the video, Brenna Lip, clarified on Twitter that the group came from Jackson Heights’ Drag Story Hour public library. Drag Story Hour events see “Storytellers using the art of dragging […] Read books to children in libraries, schools and bookstores,” the program’s website reads.
Lip tweeted: “NYPD helps Proud Boys dodge fare then tells journalists to go back and pay the fare.”
Viewers interpreted the video similarly; A comment on TikTok, which received around 56,900 likes, said: “Why should the lapd [sic] Arrest their own colleagues lol” while another on Twitter with 74,000 viewsHe added: “That your cops are closely allied with white supremacists really isn’t great @NYPDnews“
The Proud Boys and the movement’s alleged ties to the New York City Police Department have previously been the subject of public and media scrutiny. In 2018, its founder, Gavin McInnes, said he had “a lot of support in the NYPD” and “greatly appreciate it.”[s] that, the boys in blue.”
His comments followed a report by BuzzFeed News that the NYPD had not arrested any members of the group who had beaten activists who were protesting a McInnes speech.
The force released a statement at the time, which said, “There is no tolerance for violence anywhere in New York City, and the NYPD will do everything in its power to ensure public safety.”
However, without explicitly naming the Proud Boys, said a spokesman for the NYPD news week that the group was being moved through the barriers not to do a favor but to quell the potential for violence triggered by their presence.
“At approximately 5:30 p.m. on December 29, 2022, there was a protest that originated at the Jackson Heights Public Library within the boundaries of the 115th Precinct,” the spokesman said.
“Protesters and counter-protesters began engaging each other, leading to a mobilization called for crowd control.
“Officials at the scene tried to de-escalate the situation and separate the groups involved.
“In order to de-escalate the situation and prevent further violence, it was decided to escort a group to the Jackson Heights subway station to remove the group from the area.
“While the group was being escorted out of the area, there have been several instances of pepper spray being used by unidentified people in the group, with one person requiring medical attention.
“Due to the urgency and the rapidly evolving situation, it was decided to move the group to the subway and remove them from the area before the situation could escalate any further.
“The group left the area without further incident.”
The NYPD also stated that 32-year-old John Curry, of Grand Central Parkway, Queens, New York, was arrested at the protest.
A video posted to YouTube on December 31, 2022, fits the NYPD’s account of the events, showing New York City police officers leading a group, some wearing the Proud Boys badge, through the streets and into the subways. escort train.
The officer seen in the TikTok video telling Brenna Lip that the group is going for free can be seen at the front of the escort.
While the video appears to show protesters wearing Proud Boys insignia making their way through the city’s subway barriers, it appears to be related to preventing violence or other disruptions elsewhere.
The Proud Boys, who were among the groups linked to the January 6 riots, have become a familiar presence at the Drag Story Hour protests across the United States.
The group disrupted such events in California and Texas in 2022. LGBTQ supporters hit back at Ohio authorities in December for handling such a protest in Columbus, where the arrival of 70 Proud Boys and other right-wing groups, including Patriot Front, led to the cancellation of the event.
news week contacted Brenna Lip for comment.
While it appears members of a group wearing Proud Boys insignia were let through the New York City subway system by police without pay, the NYPD said the decision was made to stop violence during a protest and counter-protest in to prevent a library on December 29th. 2022.
Proud Boys, among others, came to the Jacksons Heights Library in Queens, New York to protest drag artists reading to children.
FACT CHECK FROM Newsweeks Fact Check Team
https://www.newsweek.com/fact-check-nypd-proud-boys-subway-free-drag-protest-1770916 Did NYPD Let Proud Boys On Subway For Free After Drag Protest?