SAN LORENZO, Calif. (KRON) – Members of the “Proud Boys” right-wing extremist group are under investigation in Alameda County. Five men affiliated with the group disrupted an LGBTQ event in San Lorenzo over the weekend.
The Proud Boys disrupted a Pride event at the San Lorenzo Library on Saturday, hurling homophobic remarks while drag queens read to children. East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell, a former hate crimes prosecutor for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, said a line may have been criminally crossed.
“If the goal from the Proud Boys was for us to run away from this fight, we are running toward more equality,” he said.
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Swalwell says he will not sit silent, and instead stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. He made that pledge after meeting with equality advocates and law enforcement at the library for 45 minutes Thursday morning.
“We want to be a country of free speech, but when that free speech crosses into the realm of threatening physical violence, that’s where it should be investigated, and again, right now, it’s under investigation,” he said.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office sat in on Thursday’s meeting with Swalwell. Lieutenant Ray Kelly said the men have been identified, and said although they are affiliated with the group currently under investigation for its role in the attack at the nation’s capitol on January 6 of last year, the men live in the Bay Area.
“We’re gonna stand with the people of our community,” Kelly said. “Inclusive. We’re going to make sure that this is a safe space for everybody in our community, no matter who you are.”
The library says it will continue to hold monthly Pride events for the rest of the year, and the sheriff’s office intends to be present.
“You won’t find the Proud Boys going to a Catholic church or to a karate class,” said Billy Bradford, the founder of Castro Valley Pride. “We find them attacking the LGBTQ community because we’re different.”