Proud Boys Leader Hit With Jan. 6 Conspiracy Charge

Indictment says Enrique Tarrio flouted order to stay out of Washington
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 8, 2022 2:54 PM CST
Proud Boys Leader Charged With Conspiracy in Jan. 6 Riot
Trump supporters storm the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(Newser) – A leader of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group was arrested Tuesday on a conspiracy charge for his suspected role in a coordinated attack on the US Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. Henry "Enrique" Tarrio wasn’t there when the riot erupted on Jan. 6, 2021. Police had arrested Tarrio in Washington two days before the riot and charged him with vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church during a protest in Dec. 2020. The day before the Capitol was attacked, a judge ordered Tarrio to stay out of Washington. But Tarrio didn't leave town as he should have, the indictment said. Instead, he met with Oath Keepers founder and leader Elmer "Stewart" Rhodes and others in an underground parking garage for approximately 30 minutes.

"During this encounter, a participant referenced the Capitol," the indictment says. The indictment is a further proof of how far the Justice Department is going to prosecute the leaders of extremist groups whose members are suspected to have planned and attacked the Capitol, even if they weren’t in attendance themselves, the AP reports. The new riot-related charges are among the most serious filed so far, but they aren’t the first of their kind. Eleven members or associates of the antigovernment Oath Keepers militia group, including Rhodes, have been charged with seditious conspiracy in the Capitol attack.

Tarrio, who has since stepped down from his post as Proud Boys chairman, served five months for the banner case. On Dec. 30, 2020, an unnamed person sent Tarrio a document that laid out plans for occupying a few “crucial buildings” in Washington on Jan. 6, including House and Senate office buildings around the Capitol, the indictment says. More than three dozen of the more than 750 people charged in the Capitol siege have been identified by federal authorities as Proud Boys leaders, members. or associates. According to the indictment, Tarrio tried to communicate by phone with two other alleged Proud Boys leaders by telephone while the men were moving in and out of the Capitol and had a 42-second call with one of them. (While serving time in the unrelated case, Tarrio called the DC jail a "gulag.")

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