Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, former leader of the far-right group Proud Boys (Chicos Proud), has been arrested this Tuesday on a charge of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, the certification of the triumph of Joe Biden on January 6, 2021. Tarrio , 38, was not in Washington on the day of the Capitol storming, but the Justice Department has evidence that he helped coordinate the insurrection. “To the parasites of Congress and those who want to steal the White House, if you want a war, you will have a war,” he said at an event in the US capital days before the event.
Tarrio, a Miami native and son of Cuban-American parents, and Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right militia group Oath Keepers, indicted in mid-January for seditious conspiracy, are the two attackers facing the most serious charges filed by the Department of Justice in relation to the attack on the Capitol. Rhodes, 56, remains in jail awaiting trial.
On Jan. 4, 2021, Washington police arrested Tarrio on property destruction charges related to the burning of a Black Lives Matter anti-racist flag at a historic Black community church. The next day he was released on the condition that he leave the capital. Always according to the accusation, Tarrio met that day with Rhodes and other ultras for half an hour. “In the meeting, a participant made reference to the Capitol,” reads the statement from the Department of Justice.
Tarrio has been charged along with other prominent members of the Proud Boys, such as Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs. They are likely to go to trial on May 18. The former leader of the group faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
The FBI qualifies the Proud Boys as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism” and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the reference institution in the study of extremism in the United States, includes it on the list of groups of country hate. During the presidential campaign they rang a lot in a debate between Donald Trump and Biden. When asked to condemn white supremacy, the Republican asked who he should condemn. Biden suggested the Proud Boys. “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump replied, inspiring supporters of the ultra movement.
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