Leader of Proud Boys extremist group arrested over Jan. 6 attack on U.S. Capitol

A frontrunner of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group was arrested Tuesday on a conspiracy cost for his suspected position within the co-ordinated assault on the U.S. Capitol to cease Congress from certifying Democrat Joe 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 earlier than the riot and charged him with vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church throughout a protest in December 2020. The day earlier than the Capitol was attacked, a choose ordered Tarrio to remain out of Washington.

However Tarrio did not go away city as he ought to have, the indictment mentioned. As an alternative, he met with Oath Keepers founder and chief Elmer “Stewart” Rhodes and others in an underground parking storage for roughly half-hour.

“Throughout this encounter, a participant referenced the Capitol,” the indictment mentioned.

Tarrio made his preliminary court docket look by way of video hyperlink to a Miami courtroom Tuesday. His detention listening to was scheduled for Friday.

The arrest got here as federal prosecutors gained a conviction on all counts within the first trial for a rioter because the assault.

Plan to occupy ‘essential buildings’ in Washington

The indictment is an extra proof of how far the U.S. Justice Division goes to prosecute the leaders of extremist teams whose members are suspected of planning the assault on the Capitol, even when they weren’t in attendance themselves.

The most recent conspiracy cost zeroes in on organized teams that plotted upfront — as federal prosecutors distinguish them from lots of of different supporters of then president Donald Trump who have been on the scene that day and have been charged.

The brand new riot-related fees are among the many most severe filed up to now, however they don’t seem to be the primary of their type. Eleven members or associates of the antigovernment Oath Keepers militia group, together with Rhodes, have been charged with seditious conspiracy within the Capitol assault.

WATCH | Anniversary of U.S. Capitol riot highlighted by political division: 

Anniversary of U.S. Capitol riot highlighted by political division

The one-year anniversary of the U.S. Capitol riot was marked with a solemn vigil, calls to finish the political division within the U.S. and some verbal assaults towards former president Donald Trump. However in an extra signal of America’s worsening political chasm, solely Democrats appeared to take the day severely. 4:59

Tarrio, who has since stepped down from his put up as Proud Boys chairman, did not instantly reply to a textual content message looking for touch upon his arrest and indictment. He served 5 months for the unrelated case.

On Dec. 30, 2020, an unnamed individual despatched Tarrio a doc that laid out plans for occupying a number of “essential buildings” in Washington on Jan. 6, together with Home and Senate workplace buildings across the Capitol, the indictment says. The nine-page doc was entitled “1776 Returns” and known as for having as “many individuals as doable” to “present our legislators We the Persons are in cost,” in accordance with the indictment.

“The revolution is vital than something,” the individual mentioned.

“That is what each waking second consists of … I am not enjoying video games,” Tarrio responded, in accordance with the indictment.

Important Proud Boys presence on Jan. 6

Proud Boys members describe the group as a politically incorrect males’s membership for “Western chauvinists.” Its members continuously have brawled with antifascist activists at rallies and protests. Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who based the Proud Boys in 2016, sued the Southern Poverty Legislation Middle for labelling it as a hate group.

On the morning of Jan. 6, group members met on the Washington Monument and marched to the Capitol earlier than then president Donald Trump completed talking to 1000’s of supporters close to the White Home.

An explosion brought on by a police munition is seen whereas a throng of individuals descend on the U.S. Capitol Constructing in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Simply earlier than Congress convened a joint session to certify the presidential election outcomes, a bunch of Proud Boys adopted a crowd of people that breached limitations at a pedestrian entrance to the Capitol grounds, an indictment says. A number of Proud Boys additionally entered the Capitol constructing itself after the mob smashed home windows and compelled open doorways.

Prosecutors have mentioned the Proud Boys organized for members to speak utilizing particular frequencies on Baofeng radios, Chinese language-made gadgets that may be programmed to be used on lots of of frequencies, making it tough for outsiders to eavesdrop.

Over three dozen of the greater than 750 folks charged within the Capitol siege have been recognized by federal authorities as Proud Boys leaders, members or associates.

Conviction in 1st Capitol riot trial

In the meantime, on Tuesday a Texas man was convicted of storming the U.S. Capitol with a holstered handgun, a milestone victory for federal prosecutors within the first trial amongst lots of of instances arising from final 12 months’s riot.

A jury additionally convicted Man Wesley Reffitt of obstructing Congress’ joint session to certify the Electoral Faculty vote on Jan. 6, 2021, of interfering with law enforcement officials who have been guarding the Capitol and of threatening his two teenage kids in the event that they reported him to legislation enforcement after the assault.

Jurors deliberated about three hours and convicted him on all counts.

LISTEN | A quick historical past of the Proud Boys: 

Entrance Burner27:33The Proud Boys: A quick historical past

Within the wake of final week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol, the Proud Boys — a bunch based by Canadian Gavin McInnes — has been beneath intense strain. The FBI is arresting a few of its members. NDP Chief Jagmeet Singh has known as for the them to be designated a terrorist group, and the federal authorities is contemplating it. At this time, how the Proud Boys began, and the place they ended up, with Jared Holt — a visiting researcher on the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Analysis Lab who research home extremism 27:33

The decision could possibly be a bellwether for a lot of different Capitol riot instances. It might give Justice Division prosecutors extra leverage in plea negotiations and discourage different defendants from playing on trials of their very own.

Reffitt confronted a complete of 5 counts: obstruction of an official continuing, being unlawfully current on Capitol grounds whereas armed with a firearm, transporting firearms throughout a civil dysfunction, interfering with legislation enforcement officers throughout a civil dysfunction, and obstruction of justice.

Throughout the trial’s closing arguments on Monday, Assistant U.S. Legal professional Risa Berkower instructed jurors that Reffitt drove to Washington, D.C., desiring to cease Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Reffitt proudly “lit the fireplace” that allowed others in a mob to overwhelm Capitol law enforcement officials close to the Senate doorways, the prosecutor mentioned.

Reffitt was not accused of getting into the Capitol constructing. Defence legal professional William Welch mentioned there isn’t any proof that his consumer broken property, used pressure or bodily harmed anyone.

WATCH | Capitol Hill police launch physique digital camera footage of Jan. 6 assault:

Capitol Hill police launch physique digital camera footage of Washington assault

FBI investigators are persevering with to search for clues into the lethal assault on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, together with who planted pipe bombs. 2:41

Jurors noticed movies that captured the confrontation between a number of Capitol law enforcement officials and a mob of individuals, together with Reffitt, who approached them on the west aspect of the Capitol.

Reffitt was armed with a Smith & Wesson pistol in a holster on his waist, carrying zip-tie handcuffs and carrying physique armour and a helmet outfitted with a video digital camera when he superior on police, in accordance with prosecutors. He retreated after an officer pepper sprayed him within the face, however he waved on different rioters who in the end breached the constructing, prosecutors mentioned.

Earlier than the group superior, Reffitt used a megaphone to shout at police to step apart and to induce the mob to push ahead and overtake officers. Assistant U.S. Legal professional Jeffrey Nestler mentioned Reffitt performed a management position that day.

He will likely be sentenced June 8. He might obtain 20 years in jail on the highest cost alone, however he is more likely to face far much less time behind bars. Different rioters have pleaded responsible, and the longest sentence up to now was the 5 years and three months handed to Robert Palmer, a Florida man who pleaded responsible to attacking law enforcement officials on the Capitol.

The riot resulted within the deaths of 5 folks, together with a police officer. Greater than 100 officers have been injured. Rioters triggered over $1 million in harm to the Capitol.

Greater than 750 folks have been charged with federal crimes associated to the riot. Over 220 of them have pleaded responsible, largely to misdemeanors, and greater than 110 of them have been sentenced. Roughly 90 others have trial dates.

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