Woodland Police Respond After Proud Boys Storm Local Drag Show
Police in Woodland, California responded to a chaotic scene outside a lounge on Friday night as members of the Proud Boys tried to force their way into an all-ages drag show while shouting anti-gay epithets. The disruption came weeks after the same group disrupted Drag Queen Story Hour at a library in San Joaquin County.
Mojo’s Lounge had initially scheduled the drag performance for Thursday evening, but was forced to reschedule after online threats from extremist groups.
Woodland Police Chief Derrek Kaff said Saturday that his department is working with the FBI to identify the sources of those threats, as well as protesters who became violent on Friday. He also responded to criticism that Woodland officers allegedly stood by and allowed the Proud Boys to attack the bar.
“…There is a video circulating on social media and being shared by media outlets that shows a confrontation. It’s important that we understand the context of what happened before the cell phone cameras were rolling,” Kaff said in a video statement.
Kaff presented a longer version than the video which has been circulating online. It shows that a patron inside the lounge attempted to defend themselves by deploying pepper spray into the crowd of protesters before shutting the doors. The pepper spray also hit police, who then turned from the scene to wash their eyes. The shorter version shows police fleeing the scene, but does not make clear they had been injured by pepper spray.
“Let me be clear in saying the Woodland Police Department supports our LGBTIA+ community,” said Kaff. “I love our diversity and the inclusivity that makes our community a great place to live. I’m also very disturbed and angry that Mojo’s faced intimidation online and felt the need to cancel a positive event.”
Kaff went on to call the protesters’ actions “inexcusable.”
The Proud Boys is an extreme right-right group that engages in political violence and intimidation. Its members were involved in organizing the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. The organization was declared a terrorist group by the country of New Zealand last week.