A Philadelphia man who investigators say is a self-identified Proud Boy will face criminal charges after allegedly threatening a local antifascist researcher in the days following the presidential election.
Detectives with the District Attorney’s Office arrested Kyle Boell, 40, at his home in Northeast Philadelphia on Thursday, about four months after he allegedly sent harassing Twitter messages to a West Philadelphia community organizer who researches and exposes members of far-right organizations. He faces charges of harassment and making terroristic threats.
Boell’s Twitter account appears to have been suspended. He did not have an attorney listed as of the time of his arrest.
The researcher, Gwen Snyder, said she was tracking extremist activity in the days after the presidential election as opposing crowds rallied outside the Convention Center, where workers counted ballots. In early November, hours after news organizations called the election for Joe Biden, Philadelphia Proud Boys posted a photo of Snyder, who was outside the facility, on a public social media channel alongside a derogatory message.
Two days later, a Twitter user — whom investigators since identified as Boell — sent Snyder several messages, including one that said “walked all threw [sic] Philly tonight,” told Snyder she and a family member are “done in Philly,” and ended: “Proud Boy out.” In a separate message, he referred to the “PHILLY-CHAPTER” of the Proud Boys.
Snyder said she reported the messages to District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office alongside other information related to what she saw as election interference. Krasner’s office led a task force that investigated potential criminal activity related to the election.
Threats from right-wing figures against Snyder, her family, and even her pets have endured for years, she said, and caused her to take extreme caution in her everyday life. In July 2019, she said, members of the Proud Boys visited her home late at night when she wasn’t there, told a neighbor that Snyder should stop posting about them, and put stickers with the Proud Boys logo on her door and a pole on her block. She said she reported the incident to the Philadelphia Police Department. No one was charged.
In September, the Philadelphia Proud Boys advertised they would rally in West Philadelphia’s Clark Park, posting on their public Telegram page that they chose the location because it was near Snyder’s home. Hundreds of people showed up to oppose the Proud Boys, and the “rally” was a bust.
Snyder said of the arrest this week that she’s “glad that they’re facing some accountability.”
“It feels good to see folks recognizing that this threat is real, but there is still so far to go,” she said, adding: “The danger they pose to Black and other marginalized communities is so much greater than the danger they pose to me as a white person.”
The Proud Boys — a far-right, male-only nationalist organization that grew in prominence when Donald Trump said during a September presidential debate that they should “stand back and stand by” — have been scrutinized in recent weeks by federal investigators probing the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
About 20 Proud Boys and associates have been charged in connection with the insurrection, and prosecutors this week alleged leaders of the organization executed a plan to split up and breach the Capitol from multiple points, using encrypted radios to communicate. Police in D.C. had arrested the group’s chairman, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, two days prior.
Two dozen Pennsylvanians have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot. Prosecutors have not alleged any are connected with the Philadelphia Proud Boys.