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Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio charged with conspiracy in U.S. Capitol attack

·Reporter
·2 min read
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Former Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was arrested in Miami on Tuesday on conspiracy charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to the Justice Department.

Tarrio is now among the most high-profile defendants to face charges in connection with the attack that resulted in five deaths and left more than 140 police officers injured. On that day, a violent mob stormed the Capitol as Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election showing that President Donald Trump had lost to Joe Biden. According to a DOJ press release, Tarrio was named in a superseding indictment returned Monday in the District of Columbia alongside five other previously charged associates of the Proud Boys, a neofascist group that advocates for political violence in the United States. He is expected to make an initial court appearance on Tuesday in Florida’s Southern District.

Enrique Tarrio.
Enrique Tarrio in Miami on May 25, 2021. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

Tarrio’s arrest marks a significant development in the Justice Department’s investigation of the role played by extremist groups — in particular the “Western Chauvinist” Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, another far-right paramilitary group — in the violent clashes between pro-Trump rioters and law enforcement attempting to secure the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

Protesters clash with Capitol Police on Jan. 6, 2021.
Protesters clash with Capitol Police on Jan. 6, 2021. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The indictment alleges that Tarrio, who was national chairman of the Proud Boys at the time of the riot, “led the advance planning and remained in contact with other members of the Proud Boys during their breach of the Capitol” even though he wasn’t physically present at the building. Two days earlier, Tarrio had been arrested in Washington and charged with destruction of property based on evidence that he took part in burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was torn down from a historic Black church during street skirmishes. A judge ordered him released from jail on Jan. 5, 2021, on the condition that he stay out of Washington.

“The indictment alleges that Tarrio nonetheless continued to direct and encourage the Proud Boys prior to and during the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and that he claimed credit for what had happened on social media and in an encrypted chat room during and after the attack,” according to the Justice Department announcement.

The week before his arrest, Tarrio had posted on the social media website Parler that “the Proud Boys will turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th,” Yahoo News reported at the time.

A post shared to a Proud Boys channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram on Tuesday dismissed the indictment of Tarrio as “ridiculous.”

“He wasn’t there and he had nothing to do with anything that happened at the Capitol that day,” the post stated.