Former “Proud Boys” Leader Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison
Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua) – October 5, 2022
The former leader of the far-right organization “Proud Boys,” Enrique Tarrio, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison by the United States District Court in Washington. The sentencing took place on October 5, with Federal District Court Judge Timothy Kelly presiding over the case.
In May, Tarrio, along with three other members of the “Proud Boys,” were found guilty by a jury of conspiracy to commit sedition and other crimes in relation to the infamous “Capitol Hill Riot” case.
The “Capitol Hill Riot” occurred on January 6, 2021, when a group of supporters of then-President Donald Trump, including several “Proud Boys” members, forcefully breached the Capitol building. The intention was to prevent the House and Senate from certifying the election of Joseph Biden as President. The incident resulted in large-scale riots, leading to the tragic deaths of five individuals, including a Congress police officer, and causing injuries to approximately 140 people.
Prosecutors argued that Tarrio orchestrated the plan to use violence as a means to undermine American democracy and overturn Biden’s election victory. They warned that the repercussions could have caused a comprehensive constitutional crisis, leaving over 300 million Americans uncertain about the country’s next president.
On the day of the riot, Tarrio was not present in Washington, D.C. He had been arrested by local police two days prior for allegedly destroying a “Black Lives Matter” sign during a rally. Law enforcement later revealed that the reason behind Tarrio’s arrest was to prevent him from potentially causing trouble on January 6. Following the arrest, he abided by a judge’s order to leave Washington.
Tarrio’s defense lawyer claimed that his client, who they referred to as a “keyboard man,” had no direct influence on the riots as he was not in Washington at the time of the incident.
Prosecutors countered by stating that Tarrio not only used his influence to incite his followers but also remotely directed members of the “Proud Boys” to assault Congress. They presented communication records as evidence, including messages where Tarrio admitted their involvement in the riots and one member asked what actions to take next, to which Tarrio responded with, “Do it again.”
During the trial, a former member of the “Proud Boys” testified that the organization was determined to prevent Biden’s election and considered the attack on Congress the starting point of “the next American revolution.” A few days before the riots, Tarrio’s girlfriend reportedly handed him a document outlining plans to storm and occupy government buildings in Washington with the aim of pressuring the government to overturn the election results.
The charge of conspiracy and abetment, rarely used in modern times, was invoked in this case, drawing from post-Civil War legislation. Prosecutors had to prove that the accused individuals attempted to forcibly overthrow the government or hinder law enforcement.
The prosecution requested a 33-year prison sentence for Tarrio, while the defense asked for leniency, with a maximum sentence of 15 years.
On the 5th of October, Tarrio pleaded for a lighter sentence in court. He apologized to the Congressional police and members of Congress, asserting that his goal had never been to cause harm or manipulate election results.
Despite Tarrio’s statement, Judge Kelly noted that he had never expressed remorse publicly before. In order to deter others from emulating his actions and inciting political violence, Judge Kelly handed down a significant sentence, emphasizing that such events should never transpire again. He described the acts committed by the “Proud Boys” as potentially constituting an act of “terrorism.”
The Department of Justice has charged over 1,100 individuals in relation to the “Capitol Hill Riot” case. Approximately 630 individuals have pleaded guilty, and 110 have been convicted thus far.
Enrique Tarrio, 39, from Miami, Florida, is currently the longest-serving defendant in this case.
On October 1, Ethan Nordine, another member of the organization, was sentenced to 18 years in prison, while two other high-ranking members received sentences of 17 and 15 years, respectively. Stuart Rhodes, the founder of the “Oath Keeper,” a different right-wing group, has also been sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Former “Proud Boys” leader sentenced to 22 years in prison
Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua) – On the 5th, the United States District Court in Washington sentenced Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the far-right organization “Proud Boys”, to 22 years in prison.
Federal District Court Judge Timothy Kelly read the verdict that day. Tarrio and three other members of the “Proud Boys” were found guilty by a jury in May of conspiracy to commit sedition and other crimes in the “Capitol Hill Riot” case.
On January 6, 2021, a group of supporters of then-President Donald Trump, including members of the “Proud Boys,” forcefully broke into the Capitol building to prevent the House and Senate from certifying the election of Joseph Biden in president, triggering the big-. large scale riots resulted in the death of 5 people, including a Congress police officer, and around 140 people were injured.
Prosecutors said Tarrio led the plan to use violence to destroy the cornerstone of American democracy and overturn Biden’s election result. “When we wake up on January 7, we are likely to see a comprehensive constitutional crisis”, “more than 300 million Americans will not know who the next president is”.
On the day of the riot, Tarrio was not in the capital, Washington. He was arrested by police in Washington two days before the incident on the grounds that he destroyed a “Black Lives Matter” sign at a rally. Law enforcement later admitted that the reason for Tario’s arrest was to prevent him from causing trouble on January 6. After his arrest, he followed a judge’s order to leave Washington.
The defense lawyer said Tario was just a “keyboard man” and was not in Washington at the time of the incident, so he “had no direct influence” on the riots.
Prosecutors said Tario not only used his influence to incite followers, but also “remotely directed” members of the “Proud Boys” to attack Congress.
Prosecutors have obtained communication information from Tario and other members of “Proud Boys” before and after the Congress riots, and used them as evidence. In one of the messages, Tarrio wrote: “Yes, we did it.” Later on the day of the riots, a member of “Proud Boys” asked what to do next in the group’s encrypted chat group. Leo replied, “Do it again .”
A former member of the “Proud Boys” testified during the trial that the organization was “desperate” to prevent Biden from being elected, and called the attack on Congress the start of “the next American revolution.” According to the Associated Press, a few days before the riots, Tario’s girlfriend gave him a document about storming and occupying government buildings in Washington to force the government to “overturn the election results.”
The Associated Press said the charge of conspiracy and abetment came into force after the American Civil War and is rarely used in modern times. Prosecutors need to prove that the accused attempted to overthrow the government by force or prevent law enforcement.
The prosecution asked the judge to sentence Tario to 33 years in prison; the defense asked for mercy, with the sentence not longer than 15 years.
Tario asked the judge for a lighter sentence in court on the 5th, apologized to the Congressional police and members of Congress, and said “my purpose is not to cause harm and change the results of the election.”
However, Judge Kelly said Tarrio had never expressed remorse publicly before, and imposed a heavy sentence to deter others from imitating him and inciting political violence in the future. “This can’t happen again, it can’t happen again,” Kelly stressed, adding that what the “Proud Boys” did could be considered an act of “terrorism.”
So far the US Department of Justice has charged more than 1,100 people in the “Capitol Hill Riot” case, about 630 people have pleaded guilty, and 110 people have been convicted.
Tarrio, 39, of Miami, Florida, is the longest serving defendant in the case so far.
Ethan Nordine, a member of the organization, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on the 1st of this month, and two other high level members were sentenced to 17 and 15 years respectively. Another group on the right, the founder of the “Oath Keeper”, Stuart Rhodes, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.
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