The FBI officially considers the Proud Boys an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism.”
That classification was revealed in an August Washington state law enforcement document obtained by transparency non-profit Property of the People and first reported by The Guardian on Monday.
Per the Clark County Sheriff’s Office memo, “The FBI has warned local law enforcement agencies that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting in the Pacific Northwest and that some in the group have contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.”
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes has insisted since the group’s creation in 2016 that his “western chauvinist” organization is just a men’s club focused on drinking beer and protesting excessive political correctness. But the group’s members have been arrested for assault after brawling with anti-racist protesters in cities from New York to Portland, Oregon.
The New York Police Department opened a criminal probe into the group in October after members engaged in a chaotic street fight with protesters outside a Manhattan Republican club where McInnes gave a speech.
The FBI’s designation of the Proud Boys as an extremist group was revealed in a report on the dismissal of former Clark County probationary deputy Erin Willey. According to the document, Willey was fired after local press obtained a photo of her wearing a sweatshirt of the “Proud Boys Girls”—the female division of the male-only group.
Clark County’s internal investigation revealed that Willey was an active member of the group between Nov. 2016 and Oct. 2017, that she sold merchandise on their behalf, and that she did not disclose this information during the hiring process.
The document concludes that Willey could not be trusted to carry out her oath of office given her membership in a group that “openly discriminates against people of the Muslim faith and Jewish faith,” “openly discriminates against people of different national origins and ethnicity,” “openly advocates the overthrow of the federal government,” and “promotes misogynistic rhetoric and beliefs that many women find offensive.”
Willey told the sheriff’s office that she believes the photo was leaked by her former boyfriend, Proud Boy member Graham Jorgensen, in retaliation for ending their relationship, and that Jorgensen engaged in a history of physical and verbal abuse towards her.
Read the full document below.