The FBI classifies the far-right group the Proud Boys as “an extremist group with white nationalist ties,” a document linked to an investigation in Washington revealed.
This is the first time the designation has been made public, the Guardian reports.
The document by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office came out of an internal affairs investigation into a sheriff’s deputy who was believed to be affiliated with the Proud Boys. The deputy was fired after a photo circulated of her in a Proud Boys sweatshirt.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office, in Vancouver, Wash., confirmed the validity of the report.
The document went on to read: “The FBI has warned local law enforcement agencies that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting in the Pacific Northwest and that some Proud Boy members have contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Va., Portland, Ore., and Seattle.
The Proud Boys is a group founded in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, a co-founder of the media company Vice who left the company 10 years ago.
Though McInnes has denied involvement in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, which left one protester dead, the FBI’s report points to the group’s involvement in the event’s violence. The Southern Poverty Law Center says the Proud Boys is known for white nationalist ties as well as anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.
McInnes and about a dozen Proud Boy members were suspended from Twitter earlier this year for violating policy “prohibiting violent extremist groups.”