A New York City police detective, when asked on the witness stand this week how he had identified members of a far-right group called the Proud Boys, gave an unexpected answer: the department, investigating a brawl in the city last October that involved the group, had relied in part on information posted online, much of it gathered by anonymous, self-described anti-fascists.
“There was a tremendous amount of what we call ‘doxxing,’” the detective, Thomas Mays, testified, using a slang term for the practice of disclosing personal information online. “Names that were given for the individuals.”
For the past week, jurors in State Supreme Court in Manhattan have been immersed in the unfamiliar world of the Proud Boys and their political enemies, often known collectively as Antifa. They have heard testimony about a subculture of battling groups, described as extremists who fight not only in the streets but also online.