NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD is responding to criticism about how it handled a brawl outside the Manhattan Republican Club on Friday night after an event featuring a group’s controversial speaker.
The NYPD is defending its preparedness for Friday night’s event before violence between a far-right group and anti-fascist activists broke out, reports CBS2’s Alice Gainer.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also speaking out about the incidents that took place, asking the FBI to look into it as well as the state police Hate Crimes Unit.
Police released surveillance footage Monday showing the scene from 82nd Street between Lexington and Park avenues.
The video shows a fight between members of “The Proud Boys,” a far-right men’s group, and masked members of “Antifa,” an anti-fascist group.
A group of six men that had circled the block throw an object believed to be a bottle and violence ensues.
Just before this fight, The Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes was speaking at the Metropolitan Republican Club.
Videos posted on YouTube show clashes between the Proud Boys and groups that were protesting McInnes’ speech.
The NYPD insist it was prepared for the event and worked to make sure those exiting the building were kept separate from the other group.
“We had 48 officers out there, an inspector on scene, five sergeants and a lieutenant,” said NYPD Chief Terence Monahan. “We had a lot of personnel when they looped down the block. That’s why it took us a minute or so to get there and break up that fight.”
That fight wasn’t the only incident: On 84th Street and 3rd Avenue, a man flagged down officers to say he was robbed by the other group.
Cuomo spoke out on the radio on Monday, blasting the Metropolitan Club for even inviting McInnes to speak.
“He was foul and racist and chauvinistic and there was violence afterwards,” he said about the speaker.
“I think the New York State Republican Party knew exactly what they were doing,” said Cuomo. “They did what Trump was calling for. It was hostile, it was ugly it was racial it was sexist and it once again heated the extreme elements and heated the hate and fanned the flames of hate.”
The state Republican Party calls the comments “outrageous.”
The Metropolitan Club released a statement that reads in part:
“He had spoken at the Club approximately a year and a half ago, at which time there was no hint of violence. We do invite speakers to the Club with differing political points of view – some we agree with and some which we do not.”
The club provided this surveillance video of damage done to their club at 2 a.m. on Friday before the event, including broken windows and graffiti.
The club says it also received threatening calls in the days before, but police say those were not immediately reported.
Police say they arrested three people so far for the robbery
They are still looking for about a dozen people in connection with the incidents.
There were also reports of McInnis waving around a sword outside that he used during his talk.
Police say it was plastic. He was told to put it away and leave and he did.
Anyone with information related to these incidents should contact the New York Police Department.