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Enrique Tarrio, the national chairman of the Proud Boys during the events of Jan. 6, 2021, has been charged with seditious conspiracy, in a new, superseding indictment filed Monday. Tarrio is already in custody, with a federal judge ruling recently that he should remain locked up until trial.
The new indictment (embedded below) brings Tarrio and four other Proud Boys into dubious company, joining Stewart Rhodes and a slew of militia members from the Oath Keepers, who also face sedition charges in relation to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
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The Proud Boys are a violent far-right fraternity that preaches “Western Chauvinism” — and is notorious for engaging in street brawls with anti-fascist demonstrators.
Previously, Tarrio and the other named Proud Boys had been facing a charge of conspiracy to disrupt an official proceeding, the count of the Electoral College. The new federal indictment alleges that the purpose the Proud Boys’ seditious conspiracy “was to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force.”
Tarrio was not on the ground in Washington, D.C., when the Capitol was breached. But the indictment alleges he was the leader who planned — and from afar in Baltimore, Maryland — praised the group’s violent incursion into the halls of Congress. In a new text exchange quoted in the indictment, Tarrio compared Jan. 6 to the storming of the Winter Palace, a pivotal event in the Russian Revolution of 1917.
The indictment alleges that Tarrio created and recruited an elite group of Proud Boys called the Ministry of Self-Defense — whom a deputy characterized as comprised of “radical” and “real men,” a cut above normal Proud Boys recruits who were “losers who wanna drink.” Tarrio put himself at the helm of this “top-down” group and told others to “fit in or fuck off.”
The indictment does not offer many new details, instead recasting the details of the original conspiracy charge as “seditious.”
Tarrio was allegedly involved in plotting an attack in Washington D.C. In late December 2020, an unnamed individual is alleged to have sent Tarrio a nine-page document called “1776 Returns.” It called on agitators to occupy parts of the Capitol complex on January 6, to “show our politicians We the People are in charge.” This individual wrote to Tarrio that “The revolution is [more] important than anything.” The Proud Boy leader allegedly responded: “That’s what every waking moment consists of…. I’m not playing games.”
Legal troubles forced Tarrio to leave Washington, D.C. on Jan. 5. But Proud Boys members were allegedly in the thick of the action on Jan. 6, helping breach metal barricades, and roughing up cops.
One of Tarrio’s deputies is alleged to have ripped a riot shield from a Capitol Police officer and used that shield to break a window at the Capitol. This was a pivotal act, the indictment notes, “The first members of the mob entered the Capitol through this broken window.”
In addition to Tarrio, the others facing the sedition charge are Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola, the alleged shield-thief. They are each in custody and all pleaded not guilty to the previous conspiracy charge. The government’s hand in this case appears to have been strengthened by the April guilty plea of a sixth Proud Boys member, Charles Donohoe, to that original conspiracy charge.
Read the new indictment below:
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