SAN LORENZO, Calif. (KRON) – We are learning more about the investigation into alleged members of a far-right extremist group disrupting a pride month event at an East Bay library. And if police see this, as a sign of a rise in white nationalist hate groups here in the Bay Area.
Tonight, investigators with the F.B.I confirm they are aware of the incident.
Alameda County Sheriff Deputy Lieutenant Ray Kelly told KRON4 “they do have a right to go there to protest the story time hour. What we are looking at to see, did they cross the line?”
Did these alleged members of the far right-extremist group, the Proud Boys, cross the line from first amendment protected free speech into committing a hate crime when they disrupted the drag queen story time reading hour at the San Lorenzo library over the weekend?
Lieutenant Kelly explains “based on our initial reports, that triggered our hate crime protocol, our hate crime investigation. We’ll see where that goes.”
The incident possibly being a hate crime also elevated it to the purview of the F.B.I’s San Francisco field office. The F.B.I sent KRON4 a statement that reads in part: “The F.B.I is aware of this incident and we are in regular contact with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. If, in the course of the local investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal violation, the F.B.I is prepared to investigate…. At this time, we do not have information to indicate that there is a credible threat of violence in the bay area.”
That statement is on par with what investigators at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office have found so far as well. In fact, Deputy Lieutenant Ray Kelly gives this perspective on groups with white nationalist ties that are here in the Bay Area.
“Because we live in the Bay Area, such a diverse area, we are not used to seeing this type of activity as much as other parts of the country, but it’s a small group. This particular group, we know who they are. We know where they’re affiliated. Where they are, and where they’re from. We’ll share that with our law enforcement partners.”
As for how this pride month event at the San Lorenzo Library got on to this group’s radar, the Lieutenant tells KRON4, “this was organized on social media. We’re looking at it being organized nationally. In multiple locations. I just want to make you aware, the support for pride, in our area, in our part of the community, far outweighs the detractors, the haters and the negativity.”