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Who are the Proud Boys?
The Proud Boys are a far-right, neo-fascist organization founded by Gavin McInnis during Donald Trump’s election campaign. The Proud Boys are designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Proud Boys participated in, and helped organize the deadly ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017 that resulted in the death of antifascist activist Heather Heyer. More on the Proud Boys can be found on the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/proud-boys
Why are we exposing them locally?
This group has existed for around four years and has grown in membership. They are well connected to other Proud Boys and assorted fascists nationwide. Their politics have, over time, crept into violent racism and antisemitism. They have a history of online harassment, and have even targeted peoples’ homes a number of times with flyering and intimidation. Once photos emerged of them training together with firearms, we felt the community needed to know the names and faces of these individuals.
Bryan Wheaton, Proud Boy, 4th Degree
Bryan Wheaton is the de-facto leader of this group, as far as we can tell. He’s been involved in Proud Boy activity as early as Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017 – so almost as long as the Proud Boys have existed.
He organizes physical training and other meetups for the other Proud Boys. Bryan seems well connected, having rubbed elbows with Proud Boys from all over, and having hung out with violent fascist Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman. He has gone to a number of events organized and attended by the far-right and neo-nazi groups.
In a turn of events repeated by Proud Boys all over the country, Wheaton’s political leanings turned more overtly fascist and violent.