WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Proud Boys are domestic terrorists. They are a racist, transphobic, violent far-right group of predominantly white men who amplify the white supremacist views of other hate groups. Now they’re rallying in support of Donald Trump’s attempt to overthrow the results of the election.
Trump told them to “stand by” during the first presidential debate, and in October a video emerged of a Proud Boy predicting a civil war if Trump lost the election. It’s clear that they are intent on making that prediction come true as they now rampage through Washington, D.C., tearing down Black Lives Matter banners from churches and burning them in the streets.
What’s more, we’ve seen repeated instances of law enforcement standing by, doing nothing, and even giving Proud Boys agitators fist bumps and police escorts—while arresting the peaceful protestors the Proud Boys attacked in the streets.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, federal prosecutors declined to prosecute 96 percent of FBI civil rights investigations involving police misconduct from 1995 to 2015, turning down more than 12,700 complaints. The FBI only began collecting data on law enforcement’s use of force in 2018, after Black Lives Matter and other police accountability groups pushed for more federal oversight of police violence against people of color.
This deadly and dangerous status quo must change—and it is. DC police this week arrested a Proud Boys leader who had admitted to his role in burning a Black Lives Matter banner he had ripped down from a historic Black church, and they are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
As a feminist organization, we have a responsibility to speak out against racial injustice when we see it. This is why NOW is calling on the Biden–Harris Administration to investigate law enforcement associations with white supremacists and other far-right militant groups. Because make no mistake, we must call groups like the Proud Boys what they really are – domestic terrorists – and we must treat and prosecute them for their crimes accordingly. We must demand the federal prosecution of these hate groups that stand in the way of true equality and safety for all. Let’s make real the promise of Martin Luther King—that the arc of the moral universe is long, and it bends towards justice.