North Carolina Digital News

Proud Boys disrupt Pride event at Wilmington library ::


— A Wilmington library that was celebrating Pride month with a reading was disrupted by Proud Boy demonstrators Tuesday.

The Southern Poverty Law Group has designated the Proud Boys as far-right extremists and a hate group.

Some of the families in the library said they were frightened by the protest.

“I definitely felt very unsafe, though,” said Emily Jones.

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A Prise story-time event at Pine Valley Library on Tuesday started peacefully. But parents said it quickly turned chaotic and filled them with fear when a handful of Proud Boys showed up in the window of their event room.

“They’re doing that on purpose, for sure, to intimidate people,” said Jones.

Jones was inside with her 1-year-old daughter. She said she takes her daughter to the story-time events often and was especially excited for this one, but her excitement quickly turned to panic.

“When a group of known violent people … at that point, when those people show up, and they’re coming into the library and trying to disrupt the story time, that’s when I felt unsafe,” said Jones.


The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office had deputies at the event to prevent the Proud Boys from entering the room.

Angie Kahney was in the hallway when the demonstrators walked in. She said the group was loud and disruptive.

But in a statement, the sheriff’s office said there was no disturbance.

“They were yelling obscenities about how their tax money was being spent on pornography and drag queens. There was shouting. It was loud — their attempt was to intimidate and create a disruption, and that’s exactly what they did,” said Kahney.

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“They definitely disturbed us,” said Jones.

The sheriff’s office said because it’s a public place, there was no need for the Proud Boys to be removed. The sheriff’s office declined an on-camera interview with WECT, but did release a statement from Sheriff Ed McMahon saying he “took an oath not to uphold opinions but to uphold the law, which is exactly what my supervisors and deputies did.”

The Wilmington library said they were aware the Pride reading might create some controversy. Librariarians coordinated with the sheriff’s office in advace and brought additional staff and volunteers to help.

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