Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, and four of his lieutenants have been charged with seditious conspiracy for a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory, authorities said Monday.
Tarrio, the Proud Boys chairman, and the four others were previously charged with different conspiracy counts.
These are the most serious charges leveled against Tarrio and the right-win group to date.
Tarrio did not take part in the January 6, 2021 riot on the Capitol, but allegedly orchestrated the activities from a ‘command and control’ structure within the fringe group.
Police arrested Tarrio in Washington two days before the riot and charged him with vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church during a protest in December 2020.
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio pretended to hold a lighter to the US Capitol before reporting to a Washington DC jail in December 2020 to begin a five month sentence
Tarrio was also snapped giving a v-sign close to the Capitol on Monday night ahead of his sentence
Tarrio posed with his Proud Boy pal and a rooster ornament before beginning his sentence
Before the riot, the Proud Boys chairman created a subgroup called the Ministry of Self Defense, or MOSD, which would be in charge of ‘national rally planning,’ according to a federal detention memo.
Tarrio was released from jail on January 5 after serving his five-month sentence for that case.
He was ordered to leave D.C. but instead went to an underground parking garage where he met with a documentary film crew, other Proud Boys and Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, the founder of the Oath Keepers, another far right group that was represented in the riot.
‘We did this,’ the federal government says Tarrio texted to one of his confederates after the rioting began.
The new riot-related indictments against Proud Boys members are among the most serious filed so far, but they aren’t the first of their kind.
Eleven members or associates of the anti-government Oath Keepers militia group, including Rhodes, were indicted in January on seditious conspiracy charges in the Capitol attack.
Tarrio, pictured in Portland in September 2020, has been leader of the Proud Boys since 2018
Tarrio, pictured front in black with a megaphone, took to the streets of Portland to protest at far-left group Antifa’s behavior in the Oregon city
‘On January 6, Tarrio’s men—the leaders and members of the MOSD—were at the front of the crowd that unlawfully breached the Capitol grounds and overran police lines meant to protect the Capitol and its occupants,’ according to federal prosecutors.
‘Co-conspirator Dominic Pezzola was the first person to physically breach the Capitol when he used a stolen Capitol Police riot shield to break a window adjacent to the Senate Wing Door, which allowed the first members of the mob to breach the interior of the Capitol at 2:13 p.m.’
Tarrio’s lawyer Sabino Jauregui did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
More than three dozen people charged in the Capitol siege have been identified by federal authorities as Proud Boys leaders, members or associates.
A New York man pleaded guilty in December to storming the U.S. Capitol with fellow Proud Boys members.
Several Proud Boys also entered the Capitol building itself after the mob smashed windows and forced open doors
On the morning of January 6, Proud Boys members met at the Washington Monument and marched to the Capitol before then-President Donald Trump finished speaking to thousands of supporters near the White House
Matthew Greene was the first Proud Boys member to publicly plead guilty to conspiring with other members to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote.
Greene agreed to cooperate with authorities.
On the morning of January 6, Proud Boys members met at the Washington Monument and marched to the Capitol before then-President Donald Trump finished speaking to thousands of supporters near the White House.
Just before Congress convened a joint session to certify the election results, a group of Proud Boys followed a crowd of people who breached barriers at a pedestrian entrance to the Capitol grounds, an indictment says.
Several Proud Boys also entered the Capitol building itself after the mob smashed windows and forced open doors.
WHO ARE THE PROUD BOYS?
Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes started the all-male Proud Boys in 2016. McInnes and the Proud Boys have described the group as a politically incorrect men’s club for ‘Western chauvinists’ and deny affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views.
The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Proud Boys as a hate group, saying that its members often spread ‘outright bigotry’ and ‘anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric’ over the internet, and have posted social media pictures of themselves with prominent Holocaust deniers, white nationalists and ‘known neo-Nazis.’
Current national leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, marched in the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017.
Proud Boys have been involved in a series of high-profile violent clashes at political events.
In New York City in October 2018, police arrested several Proud Boys members who brawled with anti-fascist protesters following a speech by McInnes at a Manhattan Republican club.
Proud Boys members also have frequently clashed with counterprotesters at rallies in California and Oregon.
Most recently, the group took part in the siege on the Capitol on January 6, where some members were seen breaking into the building.
In February, they were designated a terrorist group by Canada.
Prosecutors have said the Proud Boys arranged for members to communicate using specific frequencies on Baofeng radios.
The Chinese-made devices can be programmed for use on hundreds of frequencies, making it difficult for outsiders to eavesdrop.
In December, a federal judge refused to dismiss an earlier indictment charging four alleged leaders of the far-right Proud Boys with conspiracy.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly rejected defense attorneys’ arguments that the four men — Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohoe — were charged with conduct that is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.
Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, was a Proud Boys chapter president and a member of the group’s national “Elders Council.” Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida, is a self-described Proud Boys organizer.
Rehl was president of the Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia. Donohoe, of Kernersville, North Carolina, also served as president of his local chapter, according to the indictment.
Proud Boys members describe the group as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists.” Its members frequently have brawled with antifascist activists at rallies and protests.
Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys in 2016, sued the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling it as a hate group.