Proud Boys Leader Arrested On Conspiracy Charges Over Jan. 6

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Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, a former national leader of the violent, far-right organization known as the Proud Boys who was in that leadership position at the time of last year’s Capitol riot, has been arrested by federal authorities on charges including criminal conspiracy in relation to the attack on the Capitol. Tarrio, who was not physically present for the riot (he was under court order to stay out of D.C. at the time), had so far evaded charges tied to the Capitol violence, but now, his alleged offenses include conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder and aiding and abetting, destruction of government property and aiding and abetting, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers — quite a list!

As explained by the Justice Department, Tarrio formed a group within the Proud Boys called the Ministry of Self-Defense the month before the violence. As the Justice Department summarizes, “As alleged in the indictment, from in or around December 2020, Tarrio and his co-defendants, all of whom were leaders or members of the Ministry of Self Defense, conspired to corruptly obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding, the certification of the Electoral College vote. On Jan. 6, the defendants directed, mobilized, and led members of the crowd onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol, leading to dismantling of metal barricades, destruction of property, and assaults on law enforcement.” Tarrio’s charges were included in a superseding indictment that was filed in a case that already featured other defendants. According to the Justice Department, Tarrio “led the advance planning and remained in contact with other members of the Proud Boys during their breach of the Capitol.” Apparently, Tarrio also claimed credit for events of January 6 in the aftermath.

Every other co-defendant in Tarrio’s case — there are six, including Tarrio — is also facing the conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding charge. The situation mirrors that of the nearly dozen members of the far-right group known as the Oath Keepers who have been charged with seditious conspiracy in relation to the Capitol attack. That group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, is among those who’ve been charged, and he’s currently in jail awaiting trial. One of those who was accused of seditious conspiracy has pleaded guilty to the offense and agreed to provide information to prosecutors; in the plea agreement, Joshua James (who admitted to the sedition charge) acknowledged that Rhodes “instructed [him] and others to be prepared and called upon to… use lethal force if necessary” in their efforts to support Trump staying in power. The idea among Oath Keepers was that Trump might have invoked a law called the Insurrection Act, which allows presidents to summon militias. They were prepared to be the militia.

Featured Image (edited): via Anthony Crider on Wikimedia Commons, available under a Creative Commons License