Former Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Faces Sentencing for Involvement in Capitol Riot

Estimated read time 4 min read

Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the far-right Proud Boys, faces sentencing for his involvement in the US Capitol riot. Tarrio, aged 39, stands convicted of seditious conspiracy and various related charges.

Notably, Tarrio was not present in Washington during the January 6, 2021, riot, as authorities had previously arrested him and ordered him to leave the city before the unrest. Instead, he observed the events from a Baltimore hotel room.

Following the November 2020 US presidential election, Tarrio and other Proud Boys members posted numerous threatening messages online, warning of potential violence and unrest if Donald Trump left office. During that month, Tarrio responded to a post by Joe Biden, stating, “YOU need to remember the American people are at war with YOU. No Trump, No peace, No quarter”

On December 12, 2020, the Proud Boys and other groups rallied in support of Trump in Washington, DC, resulting in clashes with anti-fascists and counter-protesters. On that day, Tarrio burned a Black Lives Matter banner taken from an African-American church.

In early January, when Tarrio tried to return to the national capital, law enforcement arrested him for the banner burning and discovered him in possession of a high-capacity ammunition magazine, which violated the city’s gun laws. After releasing him on bail, authorities ordered him to leave Washington. During the January 6 riot, he posted online, urging the rioters not to leave, saying, “After I finish watching this, I’ll make a statement about my arrest… But for now, I’m enjoying the show… Do what must be done.”

Prosecutors have requested a 33-year prison sentence. Seditious conspiracy, a seldom-used law, prohibits the use of force “to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.” In May, authorities convicted Tarrio of obstruction, conspiracy charges, civil disorder, and destruction of government property.

During Tarrio’s trial and that of four other Proud Boys, prosecutors introduced a substantial body of text messages, social media posts, and videos as evidence of a coordinated effort to disrupt the election result certification. Defense lawyers argued that the group had poor organization, was mostly non-violent, and did not have a preconceived plan to storm the building

The Proud Boys, founded in New York City in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, describe themselves as an all-male drinking club or a “pro-Western fraternal organization.” However, their involvement in far-right politics and frequent confrontations with left-wing anti-fascist activists across the US have been well-documented.

Former Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Faces Sentencing for Involvement in Capitol Riot

The group gained national attention when mentioned during a presidential debate in September 2020 when then-President Trump said, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem.”

Regarding sentencing, authorities recently sentenced four other Proud Boys for their roles in the Capitol riot. Dominic Pezzola and Zachary Rehl, former US Marines, received sentences of 10 and 15 years, respectively. US Army veteran Joe Biggs, who led the Proud Boys to the US Capitol, was sentenced to 17 years in prison, while Ethan Nordean, a Proud Boy leader from Washington state, received an 18-year term. These sentences represent some of the lengthiest handed down to Capitol rioters.

In a display of mixed emotions, Pezzola expressed remorse for his actions during his sentencing hearing but later raised his fist and shouted, ‘Trump won!’ after the prison term was declared. Nordean apologized for his lack of leadership that day.

Some Capitol rioters have recanted their expressions of remorse, underscoring the highly politicized nature of the debate surrounding that day’s events. If elected president in 2024, Former President Trump has pledged to pardon most or all of the rioters.

This marks the conclusion of a series of sentencing hearings for prominent Proud Boys and Oath Keepers militia leaders. Law enforcement has arrested over 1,100 people in connection with Capitol riot-related charges, leading to 630 guilty pleas and more than 110 convictions. Nearly 500 defendants have received prison sentences or house arrest.

Charges against the rioters have ranged from relatively minor offenses like entering restricted areas to more serious charges, including destruction of government property, assault, and conspiracy. Approximately 200 individuals have pleaded guilty to felony charges. The FBI continues its ongoing investigation, aiming to locate 14 rioters captured on video assaulting police officers or members of the media.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours