Tuesday’s meeting of the Sacramento City Council was temporarily halted and public comments were moved online after a melee between members of the Proud Boys and anti-racist counter-protesters.
The chaos can be traced back one week earlier when Proud Boy Ryan Messano made antisemitic comments before the dais. He returned this week, bringing more Proud Boys with him. That sent the meeting into a tailspin.
Although the night’s primary discussion was over homelessness, Messano and his supporters were evidently there to re-litigate the Holocaust.
“Go home, Nazi!” protesters shouted at Messano and crew.
Police were called as the meeting quickly devolved into choas. At least one council member expressed fear for their safety. After a recess, public comments were moved to a phone-in format.
These disruptions are becoming commonplace in Sacramento and elsewhere thanks to a highly polarized political environment and an emboldened far right.
“While bigots and racists have a first amendment right to spew hate, they have no right to incite violence,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a statement. “No one, no matter their point of view, has the right to disrupt the public’s business or make it impossible for others to participate.”