Who is Enrique Tarrio? The former Proud Boys leader faces his longest prison sentence yet on January 6


Two days before the crowd of Donald TrumpSupporters stormed the US Capitol, and the former leader of a neo-fascist gang was arrested Washington, DC Soon after getting off the plane from Miami.

Enrique Tarrio was wanted by police after he admitted to tearing and burning a Black Lives Matter flag outside a historic black church in the nation’s capital during riots in December linked to a protest supporting President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. from him.

On January 6, 2021, Tarrio watched the mutiny from a hotel in Baltimore.

Before his arrest two days earlier, Tarrio wrote to his lieutenant: “Whatever happens… make it a scene.”

Tarrio is now among four members of a gang that describes itself as “Western chauvinism”. He faces decades of imprisonment after they were He was convicted in May of conspiracy to sedition and other charges regarding mob assault. Tarrio’s ruling marked the first successful conviction of seditious conspiracy against a defendant on January 6 who was not physically present at the Capitol that day.

Federal prosecutors are now asking a judge to sentence those convicted Proud boys Members for decades behind bars. Tarrio could face up to 33 years in prison, the longest sentence yet in connection with the attack.

In the sentencing note, prosecutors said the men “organised and directed a force of approximately 200 to attack the heart of our democracy” and “deliberately placed themselves at the vanguard of political violence in this country”.

The defendants understood the risks and embraced their role in bringing about the “revolution”. “They unleashed a force in the Capitol that was intended to forcibly exert their political will on elected officials and nullify the results of a democratic election,” prosecutors wrote. “They failed. They are not heroes. They are criminals.”

During the trial, prosecutors presented hundreds of internal letters exposing the group’s toxic rhetoric and culture of violence that depicted a gang that “has banded together to use force against its enemies” in the weeks leading up to January 6. According to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said the Proud Boys were not just obedient followers of the former president’s orders but were preparing for “total war” to undermine millions of American votes and upend democratic elections to preserve his presidency.

Tarrio, as ringleader, along with the four other defendants, “directed, mobilized, and led” a mob of 200 supporters toward the Capitol on January 6 “resulting in the dismantling of metal barriers, destruction of property, violation of the Capitol, and assaults on law enforcement,” then They bragged about their actions on social media and in group chat messages that were later shared with jurors, according to prosecutors.

Defense attorneys blamed the words and actions of then-President Trump, who directed his supporters to “fight like hell” on the morning of the attack — and in a message from the debate stage heard loud and clear by the Proud members. The boys and their allies – “Stand on guard”.

They were the words of Donald Trump. “That was his motive,” Tarrio’s attorney, Najeeb Hassan, told the jurors in closing arguments. “It wasn’t Enrique Tarrio. They want to use Enrique Tarrio as a scapegoat for Donald Trump and those in power.”

Enrique Tarrio (AFP)

Enrique Tarrio (AFP)

The Proud Boys emerged in cities across the United States as a violent response to anti-fascist organizing in the aftermath of the 2016 election, exploiting the anger of white right-wing males and drawing on semi-cynical posturing and bar culture to launder the far-right’s anti-immigrant money. and anti-LGBT+ views.

Tarrio, who assumed the role of “boss” of the group in 2018, was previously a “prolific” collaborator with local and federal law enforcement agencies. According to court records and the testimony of a former lawyer.

His lawyer and the FBI investigator said Tarrio helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people in drug, gambling and people trafficking cases between 2012 and 2014. Tarrio denied involvement.

During a televised presidential debate on September 29, 2020, then-President Trump was repeatedly asked by debate moderator Chris Wallace if he would denounce white supremacy. Mr. Trump asked for a name for reference. Joe Biden, who was standing across from the stage, proposed to the Proud Boys.

“Proud boys, step back and brace,” Trump said. “But I will tell you what someone has to do about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem.”

Almost immediately, the Proud Boys and their allies celebrated what they heard as a call to action.

“Trump basically said to fuck them!” Joe Biggs, Tarrio’s future co-defendant, wrote to Parler at the time. “It makes me very happy.”

The accounts also circulated a meme showing the president wearing a Fred Perry T-shirt – part of the group’s casual uniform – and a hat bearing the Proud Boys logo with the text “Ready for your orders sir”.

Another included an incorrect version of the president’s remarks that sounded more like a call to arms: “Proud boys can stand by and watch, because someone has to take care of Antifa and these people.”

“While I am excited to mention us on the discussion platform, I do not take this as a direct endorsement from the president,” Tarrio wrote on Telegram.

“His asking the proud boys to step back and get ready is what we’ve always done,” he added.

“Waiting for you, sir,” Tarrio said on Parler.

After Trump was defeated in the 2020 election, Tarrio and hundreds of members of the Proud Boys and other far-right groups marched through Washington, D.C., where they set fire to a Black Lives Matter banner seized from the historic black Asbury United Methodist church. The group also attacked the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, another historic black church.

During his arrest after arriving in Washington on January 4, 2021, Tarrio was found by police Holds two high-capacity magazines Compatible with high power guns. Both were empty.

He faced a misdemeanor count of property destruction for burning a church sign and two subsequent felony counts of possession of a high-capacity feeder.

Tarrio had previously admitted in comments on Parler and on the Proud Boys’ podcast that he was responsible for burning the church sign.

“In burning the BLM sign, I was the one who set it on fire,” he said. “I was the one who went ahead and put the lighter in it and set it on fire, and I’m so proud that I did.”

Later that year, he He announced that he was stepping down From his leadership role with the Proud Boys, the other members “began to become more involved in local politics, running our men into office from the local bench, whether it be a simple Republican seat or a seat on the city council”.

But in the aftermath of January 6th, with the group’s decentralization, members harassed storytelling events in libraries and amplified “The Nanny” smears targeting LGBT+ people.

The group has been central to a wave of attacks and threats against drag artists and the people and venues that host them, according to a recent report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. The report found that the Proud Boys chapters targeted 60 such juveniles, more than half of which resulted in physical and verbal clashes.

in July 2021, as part of a plea agreement that dropped criminal charges against Tarrio Admission of guilt for property damage and a misdemeanor charge of attempted possession of a high-capacity magazine. He was released in January 2022 after serving four months in prison.

Members of the Proud Boys gather outside the Tennessee State Capitol on Aug. 21 (Getty Images)

Members of the Proud Boys gather outside the Tennessee State Capitol on Aug. 21 (Getty Images)

Five months later, a federal grand jury indicted Tarrio and four other men—Joe Biggs, Ethan Nordin, Dominic Pezzola, and Zachary Riehl—on charges of seditious conspiracy in connection with the Capitol attack.

US District Judge Timothy Kelly barred prosecutors from discussing Tarrio’s earlier arrest during the Proud Boys trial, but jurors were exposed to dozens of messages exposing members’ hate speech and calls for violence in private messages, across social media platforms, in public statements — and in a video showing them burning a banner Black Lives Matter.

In the weeks leading up to January 6, Tarrio formed a “Ministry of Self-Defense” with the co-defendants and Jeremy Bertino, the former Proud Boy who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sedition and served as a key government witness in the trial. Bertino’s testimony implicated Tarrio and the other men in a plot of what he said was “anything necessary to save the country” — including storming the Capitol to prevent the certification of the US election.

Days before the attack, Tarrio had exchanged letters with another person involved in a plan called “The Return of 1776” which included plans to occupy “important buildings” with “as many people as possible”, including the House and Senate. That person wrote, “The revolution is [sic] “More important than anything,” Tarrio replied, “This is what every waking moment consists of… I don’t play games.”

On January 6, Tarrio told his social media followers of the day to “do what needs to be done” and, in a group chat with other Proud Boys members, to “do it again”.

In another letter, he wrote: “Make no mistake.” “We did it.”

Enrique “Henry” Tarrio, 39, was born in Miami to Cuban immigrant parents.

He was initially reluctant to join the Proud Boys until he was courted by members at a far-right activist’s party. Milo Yiannopoulos in 2017; Tarrio was working there as a security.

Tarrio rose through the ranks of the emerging neo-fascist cabal, attending events for Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, rallying alongside members at a 2017 so-called “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville, Virginia that exploded into deadly violence, and expanding its Florida branch to national process.

“Before me – and they hate when I say this – were Gavin McInnes’ fan club,” he said. Miami New Times. “We weren’t really political.”

In 2013, he pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a health care fraud case involving diabetes test strips, and then helped federal prosecutors identify dozens of other suspects, according to court records. He spent a year and four months in prison.

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