Superior Court Judge Orders Proud Boys Leader To Remain Jailed

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D.C. Superior Court Judge Jonathan H. Pittman has ruled that Enrique Tarrio, a leader of the violent, far-right group known as the Proud Boys, will remain in jail, for now. Tarrio is currently serving out a five-month sentence after pleading guilty to charges including “destruction of property and attempted possession of a high-capacity ammunition magazine,” as The Washington Post explains. Tarrio was trying to get out of jail and into home confinement in connection to dismal physical conditions at the D.C. jail where he’s being held, but Pittman concluded that the particular issues weighing on the situation were not enough to warrant his release.

Pittman observed that the D.C. Department of Corrections “admits that much of what the defendant has claimed did in fact occur” — but that doesn’t mean that the remedies that Pittman would be inclined to approve would include release from jail. As recapped by the Post, Tarrio claimed that his Eighth Amendment right against “cruel and unusual punishment” had been violated amid precarious conditions at the facility, but the judge said that — even if the more extended proceedings that would be required to prove such a claim played out — the “appropriate remedy for unconstitutional conditions of confinement is correction of the unconstitutional conditions of confinement, which are experienced by all inmates, not just the defendant.” In other words, the fitting solution would be to fix up the jail, not send Tarrio home.

Pittman also rejected an argument from Tarrio for his status to be changed under the provisions of a D.C. court rule allowing for the reduction of sentences by judges, noting that such does not apply to sentences that are the subjects of ongoing appeals, as Tarrio’s sentence remains. In his argument, Tarrio also leaned on rules that provide for “compassionate release,” but the judge rejected that too, finding that he had failed “to establish that his case presents ‘extraordinary and compelling reasons’ warranting a modification,” as required under the rules.

Tarrio’s destruction of property charge stems from his participation in setting a Black Lives Matter banner on fire after it had been stolen from a historically Black church in Washington, D.C. Although Tarrio’s original offenses didn’t occur amid the Capitol violence, they unfolded in the lead-up to it, placing his actions directly within the general circumstances surrounding that day of chaos. Much more recently, Tarrio was subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the Capitol riot. The committee noted in a press release that although Tarrio “was prevented from entering Washington, D.C., on January 6th, he was allegedly involved in the Proud Boys’ preparation for the events at the Capitol.” Almost three dozen people with ties to the Proud Boys have been indicted in connection to the Capitol violence. Read more from the riot committee here.