SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — An apparent Proud Boys march took place on Saturday in Saratoga Springs, with reports of additional sightings in Ballston Spa and Waterford. Since then, Mayor Ron Kim and Public Safety Office Commissioner Jim Montagnino have released public statements on the presence of the group, which has been criticized by the International Center for Counter-Terrorism, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Anti-Defamation League.

“They were masked, and blaring music from a truck,” read a tip from one viewer who allegedly witnessed the Proud Boys gathering in Waterford. “The cops dispersed them.”

Officials from Saratoga Springs and Ballston Spa highlighted both the importance of freedom of speech and the right to assembly, while generally rebuking hate speech and championing local diversity. For his part, Kim requested a report from the Public Safety Office on what information local police received about the march ahead of time.

He said he wants to know what actions were taken, what laws were violated, and how to prevent this from happening in the future. On Monday, Kim said, “Pursuant to Title 3 of the City’s Charter, I am asking the Commissioner of Public Safety to provide my office by the close of business on Thursday, August 10, 2023, with a full report of the incident.”

Montagnino responded to the request later that day. He said that police had not received advance notice of the Proud Boys march. Instead, he said, “During the group’s march, one of our dispatchers received a call from a citizen about the march.” An officer responded to the scene, conducted interviews, wrote down license plates, and notified more state and county law enforcement “to provide advance notice of other potential demonstrations.”

“A permit would need to have been applied for and granted by the Commissioner of Accounts for the march to have been legal,” Montagnino continued. “If such a permit was not obtained in advance of the march, the organizers and participants of the march may be subject to the penalties prescribed in the City Code.”

“I recommend that the organizers of and participants in the August 5, 2023 be charged with violations of the City Charter,” Montagnino added. “I pledge the full cooperation of the Department of Public Safety in such a prosecution.” However, “Certain groups are routinely allowed to demonstrate and march in Saratoga Springs without having applied for, qualified for, or been granted parade permits,” Montagnino concluded.

Meanwhile, “This group did not possess a permit for their activity as they did not seek a permit in the first place,” said Ballston Spa Mayor Frank Rossi on Saturday. “I immediately worked to engage our Ballston Spa Police Department to ensure that the group dispersed without incident and that business owners were OK.”

And on Sunday, Ballston Spa Village Trustee Liz Kormos released a statement on the march via Facebook. “The village cannot restrict this group from marching in the village under first amendment rights. Unfortunately, we do not even have a permit requirement for gatherings which would have given us notice ahead of time,” she said. “Their march was 100% legal. We will correct that deficiency and add permits to our code to prevent surprise gatherings in the future.”