On Jan. 6, Proud Boys believed police were on their side because for four years...
they had been.
A veteran officer on the Fresno, California, city police force was placed on leave over the weekend when it emerged that he had joined a group of Proud Boys in counterprotesting local citizens who oppose turning over a local theater to an anti-LGBTQ church. But it also turned out that this was nothing new: The officer, a veteran of over a decade named Rick Fitzgerald, had been marching with the hate group for over three years.
It went unnoticed largely because modern police culture, over the past four years, developed an extremely tolerant and often benign approach to dealing with far-right street brawlers like the Proud Boys. As The New York Times explored in depth this weekend, it took their prominent role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol for law enforcement to recognize that these proto-fascist organizations are a public menace, and the involvement of law enforcement officers both in the groups themselves, and in enabling their violenceoften by turning a blind eye to it, while charging their victims with crimesis a serious problem that police agencies around the country must confront.
. . .
Investigative journalist Will Carlesswho last year cowrote for Reveal News a piece exposing how police officers around the United States participate in extremist Facebook pages, and how their departments permit itobserved on Twitter that in the course of reporting that piece, his team had contacted several internal affairs departments about these officers activities, and as far as we know, they did nothing.
. . .
... the police is a way around it but that's not good for every city
Much will still not be illegal, but it will be more possible to officially investigate and easier to get them off police forces.