Manhattan, NY – A New York State Supreme Court judge slapped two Proud Boys members with four-year prison sentences on Tuesday.
John Kinsman, 40, and Maxwell Hare, 27, were arrested for taking part in a “political street fight” with an antifa group on the Upper East Side in 2018, The New York Times reported.
At their sentencing hearing on Tuesday, State Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer noted that the stiff penalties should help to deter others from engaging in violence over their opposing political views.
“I know enough about history to know what happened in Europe in the 30s when political street brawls were allowed to go ahead without any type of check from the criminal justice system,” Dwyer said, according to The New York Times. “We don’t want that to happen in New York, especially at this time in the country when people are so divided.”
The incident occurred in October of 2018, following a speech by former Proud Boys leader Gavin McInnes, the New York Post reported.
Approximately 60 protesters and antifa members showed up at the event to heckle McInnes and interrupt his speech.
New York police tried to keep the groups separate by directing the groups’ marches in opposite directions.
But as the Proud Boys approached East 82nd Street, six antifa made a beeline in their direction, the New York Post reported.
One of them then hurled a bottle at the group, according to BuzzFeed News.
Hare and Kinsman testified that they fought back in self-defense, but prosecutor Joshua Steinglass alleged that the Proud Boys had instigated the brawl that ensued, the New York Post reported.
Antifa refused to cooperate with police, so the alleged victims were never identified.
Police arrested a total of 10 Proud Boys as a result of the street fight, the New York Post reported.
“These defendants transformed a quiet, residential street into the site of a battle-royale, kicking and beating four individuals in a brutal act of political violence,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance declared.
Hare and Kinsman were convicted of riot, attempted assault, and attempted gang assault in August.
They each faced up to 15 years in prison.
During their sentencing hearings, Hare called his actions a “mistake,” while Kinsman told the court that he “regret[ted] the entire incident,” BuzzFeed News reported.
In addition to their four years in prison, Hare and Kinsman were also sentenced to five years of post-release supervision, according to NBC News.
“It’s a shame when some people jump up and down on a platform and their followers, their soldiers, get into trouble,” Dwyer said, according to the New York Post. “I’m not sure the most moral responsibility belongs to these two defendants.”