Former Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Sentenced to 22 Years for Involvement in Capitol Riot

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Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for his involvement in planning the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. This marks the longest sentence handed down thus far related to the Capitol riot, which occurred during the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.

While Tarrio, aged 39, was not physically present in Washington during the riot, he played a significant role in organizing the far-right group’s participation. As he was escorted from the courtroom, he gestured with a two-fingered peace or victory sign.

The ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice into the riot has resulted in over 1,100 arrests and charges. The rioters had gathered in support of then-President Donald Trump, who continues to deny his 2020 election loss and has pledged to pardon many of the rioters if re-elected in 2024.

Tarrio was convicted in May on charges of seditious conspiracy, a rarely used charge related to plotting to overthrow the government, along with multiple other counts. He has been in custody since his arrest last year.

Prosecutors, in their sentencing recommendation, characterized Tarrio as a “naturally charismatic leader” and a “savvy propagandist” who served as the “primary organizer” of the conspiracy for which he and his co-defendants were convicted. They also alleged that he endorsed and promoted violence by others, describing him as a “general” rather than a “soldier.”

According to prosecutors, Tarrio played a key role in rallying members of the far-right group to travel to Washington DC. While he wasn’t physically present in the city during the attack, prosecutors argued that he closely monitored their activities and encouraged them as the events unfolded. Tarrio even posted online during the siege, expressing that he was “enjoying the show” and urging the rioters to take action.

US District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, a nominee of former President Trump, presided over the sentencing hearing. Judge Kelly concluded that Tarrio had initiated planning for the Capitol attack in December 2020 and had established a strict command structure.

Judge Kelly remarked, “Tarrio was the ultimate leader, the ultimate person who organized, and he was motivated by revolutionary zeal. I don’t have any indication that he is remorseful for the actual things that he was convicted of.”

Before learning his sentence, Tarrio emotionally apologized to the police and residents of Washington DC for his role in the riot, expressing deep shame and regret for causing grief and suffering. He acknowledged that he had allowed his hubris to convince him he was a victim who had been unfairly targeted.

While recognizing that Trump had lost the November 2020 presidential election, Tarrio asserted that he was not a political zealot and never believed it was possible to change the election results. He pleaded for mercy, hoping that his 40s would not be taken from him.

Enrique Tarrio previously served as the national chairman of the Proud Boys, a far-right group founded in New York City in 2016, which described itself as an all-male drinking club. They considered themselves as supporters of Mr. Trump and frequently clashed with far-left anti-fascist activists in street confrontations.

Tarrio’s defense argued in court that he was merely a “keyboard ninja” and a “misguided patriot” who engaged in provocative rhetoric but had no intentions of overthrowing the government. However, Judge Kelly noted that Tarrio had shown no remorse for his actions on multiple previous occasions.

Former Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Sentenced to 22 Years for Involvement in Capitol Riot

Tarrio was also found guilty in May of obstruction and conspiracy charges, civil disorder, and destruction of government property. Prosecutors deemed his actions as a “calculated act of terrorism,” warranting a 33-year prison sentence, while the defense argued for no more than 15 years.

Tarrio received his sentence in silence, and as he was led away from the courtroom, he waved to his family in the gallery and raised the two-fingered salute. His legal team plans to appeal the decision.

This sentencing marks the conclusion of a series of sentencing hearings for the key figures involved in the Capitol riot. Prior to this, the longest sentences were 18 years given to another Proud Boy, Ethan Nordean, last week, and to Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia, in May. Several other Proud Boys received prison sentences last week, with former US Marines Dominic Pezzola and Zachary Rehl receiving 10 and 15 years, respectively, and Joe Biggs, a US Army veteran, receiving 17 years.

The 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 to investigate the incident and is actively seeking 14 rioters captured on video assaulting police officers or members of the media.

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