In viral videos circulating online, police in Salem, Oregon, and the far-right group the Proud Boys appear to be fighting with one another.
In one video, Proud Boys members appear shocked by the treatment they are receiving by police while they protest downtown near the state capitol on New Year’s Day. In an apparent response to the treatment, members later desecrated a “blue lives matter” flag.
Controversial independent journalist Brendan Gutenschwager posted footage after Salem police declared an unlawful assembly Friday afternoon following rallies near the capitol building.
The video shows police pushing back on belligerent Proud Boys members who claim they are doing nothing wrong. After attempting to push back on the geared-up police, Salem police shoot them at with non-lethal pepper balls.
In another video, the police aggressively push a Proud Boy down, and dispersal messaging plays on the police’s loudspeaker system. The confusion in the faces of Proud Boys is telling of the relationship they believed they had with the police.
The development is being seen with intrigue and cynicism, given police have been accused of having an “extra-friendly” relationship with the Proud Boys and other far-right organizations in the past on numerous occasions and have even been outed as members of said organizations.
The Proud Boys were later seen desecrating a “thin blue line” flag.
A man is heard saying, “step on that flag.” One woman claims the flag is an American flag and should be respected, but she’s cut off by another woman who says the police have “fallen.”
“When they stand for BLM and antifa, they have fallen,” she says.
As they make a show of stomping on the flag, another man screams at the police: “We’ve been there for you all year!”
An officer on a bullhorn responds, “Only one punishment for treason.”
Some remain skeptical and are noting that Black Lives Matter protesters have largely been treated with more aggression. “Cops know the political class has changed. They are trying to avoid the defunding and putting up a show. It’s refreshing but the little shoving is nothing compared to the Police protests of the BLM protests,” user @flipkoin2 tweeted.
Regardless, the clips are making many happy, with some noting that if they’re any indication as to how the rest of the year is going to go, we’re off to a good start.
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