Members of the controversial Proud Boys organization showed up in large numbers at a pro-Trump rally that was held across the street from Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, on Friday. The Mayfair Mall was the site of a mass shooting the day before the rally.
The rally was planned in advance, prior to the shooting, but the large number of Proud Boys that were in attendance does seem strange considering the location and what recently took place there.
Multiple people were injured in a shooting at the mall on Friday. The incident left multiple people injured, but the injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Luckily, no one was killed in the attack, but the suspect remains at large. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has said the shooter is a white male in his 20s or 30s, but no other details are known about the suspect or his motive.
Folks, we have no idea who the shooter at Mayfair Mall is, so let's not point fingers, kay? No trying to claim that they're Antifa, The Proud Boys, or anyone else. Let's wait until we know for sure.
— John Urie (@MercMarten) November 20, 2020
On November 21st, Wauwatosa police released their most recent statement on the shooter, saying that, “Investigators are working tirelessly to identify and apprehend the suspect from yesterday’s shooting at Mayfair Mall. We ask that any witnesses to the incident please contact the Wauwatosa Police Department at 414-471-8430.”
The police chief was one of the main speakers at the rally on Saturday, which was intended to show support for Trump’s recount efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s win in Wisconsin.
Chanting “USA” “4 more years” & “We love Trump”
Crowds of people gathered on every corner on Mayfair Rd & North Ave. pic.twitter.com/mq4M9UVW1G
— Chernéy Amhara (@CherneyAmharaTV) November 21, 2020
At the rally, one of the Proud Boys could be overheard saying, “We’re from everywhere" and “We were requested to provide security make sure everyone got safe,” according to Heavy.
The group's heavy presence at the rally provoked a backlash on social media.
A day after a shooting at Mayfair mall the proud boys (a white supremacist group) is in Wauwatosa protesting the election. I grew up in Tosa. This is so disgusting and awful. https://t.co/t8zQ6AtIXW
— Tyson (@HalasBearReport) November 21, 2020
Remy del Toro, one of the Proud Boys group, said he is from Milwaukee.
“We’re patriots,” he explained. “We f***ing love America, love drinking beer. We heard there were going to be a lot of patriots showing up.”
He said about 200 Proud Boys came to keep the environment “safe.”
According to Wauwatosa police, an estimated 600 people attended Saturday's numerous rallies across Mayfair. Luckily, for the most part, everything remained peaceful, aside from one arrest for disorderly conduct. Police are also investigating an injury caused by a vehicle.
This group has been making headlines for a while now, having grown from an online troll group into a self-described “paramilitary” force in just a few years. In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, one of the Proud Boy’s most prominent members, Kyle Chapman, who led the group’s “tactical defense arm,” called the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, has signaled a new turn towards extremism for the movement.
Previously, the Proud Boys have insisted that they were not white supremacists or neo-nazis, and have gone out of their way to welcome people of color and members of the LGBT community into their group.
In fact, the national chairman of the Proud Boys is a Hispanic man named Enrique Tarrio. However, members are now in open disagreement about this policy of inclusion, with Kyle Chapman addressing the group in a post-election rant on a private message board where Proud Boys gather, calling for a more openly white nationalist movement.
Chapman made the post after learning that Tarrio was stabbed in Washington DC on election night, as he and a group of fellow Proud Boys were walking home from a bar. In his post, Chapman accused Tarrio of failing to “conduct himself with honor and courage on the battlefield,” presumably because he was the victim of an attack and not the perpetrator.
Chapman then stated his intent to take over leadership of the group, and expel any “undesirables” from their ranks.