WATCH: CNN Confronts Former Proud Boys Member With Video of Him Threatening to Shoot Antifa Members in the Head
Months after President Donald Trump infamously told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” CNN reporter Elle Reeve spoke to a former member of the far-right group.
Russell Schultz decided to leave the Proud Boys after deciding the group was becoming increasingly violent. He provided CNN with a video of a man in a Proud Boys polo shirt punching a Black woman — and called for the man to go to jail.
Despite leaving the group (the Proud Boys claim he was actually kicked out) Shultz still shows up to rallies, hates Antifa, and defends his past threats and actions as “jokes.”
Schultz explained to Reeve that many members simply want to be a part of something, or have a group of friends to get a drink with — noting that they generally struggle to talk to women.
“They’re men who’ve never had wingmen before,” he said. “They’re afraid to say what’s on their mind for fear of getting into a fight. But if they have that guy or that group behind them, they’re more bold in saying what they think, because they think someone has their back.”
Schultz joined the group after encountering them at a free speech rally in 2017:
“All (of a) sudden fights are breaking out all over the place, and here come marching across a field are these guys in black-and-yellow-striped polos,” he said. “And it, to me, it just looked like something from Braveheart.”
Although Schultz seemed mild-mannered and calm while talking to Reeves, a different side of him was highlighted when the reporter confronted him with past violent threats.
“I am going to shoot you. And here’s where the best part of the odds is, I still have a chance to fight for my freedom in court. You don’t have a chance to fight for your freedom cause you’re f**king dead. See I’m going to shoot you in the chest or your head. Center mass,” Schultz said in a 2018 video that CNN said was a threat directed at Antifa.
“At the last rally, I nearly ran over you with a car and I didn’t feel bad about it one bit. You’re lucky I didn’t kill you because I wouldn’t feel any remorse,” he said in another.
Schultz defended his remarks when questioned by Reeve, highlighting them as self-defense.
“They are violent threats and it’s for good reason, too,” he said. “Antifa was saying they were going to come over and start throwing urine and feces on us. And so that was my way of saying, ‘OK, if you do that, that’s a threat.’ I don’t know if it was AIDS-tainted. And I made that threat so they wouldn’t come over. And they didn’t come over. So, it worked.”
When asked if he thought he helped get the United States get to such a divided place, he confessed that he is somewhat responsible.
“Yeah. Honestly, I had a role in it. I never advocated for the violence to come out of it, though,” he said, apparently after he was confronted with videos of him threatening death.
Watch above, via CNN.
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