After posting bail in March for a member of the often-violent, far-right Proud Boys group, Nicholas Carefelle was let go last month from his position at the GEO Group, a private prison contractor that runs immigrant detention centers for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reports Willamette Week.
Donovan Flippo, a self-professed member of the Proud Boys, had just been arrested in for an alleged assault against an anti-fascist activist that took place in 2018 when Carfelle stepped up to pay Flippo’s $750 bail.
The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Proud Boys as a hate group due to its members’ repeated use of violence and extremist rhetoric, and are known for expressing anti-Muslim sentiments. Willamette Week’s Katie Shepherd was unable to determine the exact nature of Carefelle’s work for GEO, or whether he had direct contact with immigrants. However, before Carefelle was fired by GEO, she reported:
[Carefelle] performs work for the federal government under contracts with ICE. The GEO Group has access to government information about immigrants and access to immigrant detainees through detention centers, probation services, and transport operations. GEO Group, which specializes in incarceration, runs “residential centers,” or detention centers, where ICE houses detainees awaiting hearings in immigration court.
Members of the Proud Boys have repeatedly engaged in violent rhetoric and demonstrations, and the group’s founder has hosted numerous racist extremists on his Compound Media talk show for the edification of the group’s members. Earlier this year, Right Wing Watch profiled a white nationalist who attributed his radicalization to that pipeline.
Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, left the group last November in the hope that doing so would help group members who were facing charges after Proud Boys engaged in violent brawls in New York City following a McInnes speech earlier that year at the Metropolitan Republican Club. Other violent rallies involving Proud Boys include the Patriot Prayer rallies in the Pacific Northwest, which have sown chaos at public gatherings in Portland and other cities for the last two years.
In addition to posting Flippo’s bail, Carefelle opened his Vancouver, Washington, home to a BBC News crew who were recording a documentary about the tension between different left-wing activists and extreme right-wing groups, including the Proud Boys. The documentary and subsequent article by BBC News show several well-known Proud Boys in Carefelle’s house.
After Willamette Week presented court records to the GEO Group that demonstrated that one of their employees had paid Flippo’s bail, the contractor launched a personnel investigation. Pablo Paez, GEO Group executive vice president, later told the Willamette Week that Carefelle no longer worked for the ICE contractor.