Authorities were investigating a possible hate crime after a group of men allegedly shouted homophobic and anti-LGBTQ slurs during a Drag Queen Story Hour at a San Francisco Bay Area library, a sheriff’s official said.
Deputies responded to the San Lorenzo Library Saturday afternoon following reports of a disturbance during the reading for preschool-aged children in celebration of Pride Month, said Lt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
The host of the children’s story program, Bay Area drag queen Panda Dulce, said on Instagram that the group disrupted the event, shouting “tranny” and “pedophile.” The disruption “totally freaked out all of the kids” and the group “attempted to escalate to violence,” he wrote.
The office said Sunday that it has opened a hate crime investigation into the Saturday afternoon disruption at San Lorenzo Library, about 25 miles southeast of San Francisco.
“The men were described as extremely aggressive with a threatening violent demeanor causing people to fear for their safety,” Kelly said in a statement.
No arrests were made at the scene, he said.
“It appears the group of men may be affiliated with the Proud Boys organization,” said Kelly, adding that the five men involved were wearing the black and yellow colors associated with the far-right group.
Kelly said the sheriff’s office plans to post deputies at future story-hour events at the library “to deal with any disruptors.”
The incident was first reported by KQED.
Bay Area Congressman Eric Swalwell released a statement Sunday evening saying he is returning from a trip in Washington, DC to address the issue with law enforcement.
“Today while on a plane back to Washington, DC, I learned about an attack in our community by members of the Proud Boys,” he said. We must reject this hate and extremism whenever it shows itself, which is why I will be returning home this Thursday to meet with law enforcement and the community. There is no place for this hate in the East Bay, and we all need to speak up with one voice in saying so.”
In Idaho, more than two dozen members of a white supremacist group were arrested near a pride event. Police say the 31 Patriot Front members had riot gear and were seen loading people into a U-Haul at a hotel parking lot in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Among those arrested was Thomas Rousseau of Grapevine, Texas, who has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as the 23-year-old who founded the group.
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