Enrique Tarrio, who served as National Chairman of the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, has been hit with federal conspiracy charges for working to obstruct Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Donald Trump.
The indictment, embedded below, brings charges against Tarrio and five other members of the Proud Boys, a “Western Chauvinist” street brawling organization designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group,” and which Trump infamously told in a 2020 presidential debate to “Stand Back and Stand By.”
The Justice Department alleges that Tarrio, 38, led the advance planning for Proud Boy members who breached the Capitol on the day of the insurrection.
The indictment alleges Tarrio organized a “hand selected” Proud Boys sub-group called the Ministry of Self Defense, and told prospective members the group would “have a top down structure,” requiring members to “fit in or fuck off.”
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The indictment quotes myriad text messages from Tarrio espousing revolution.
At the close of December, the indictment alleges, Tarrio and an unnamed individual “known to the grand jury” communicated about Jan. 6 plans. This individual sent Tarrio a nine-page plan called “1776 Returns” that called for the occupation of “crucial buildings” on Jan. 6 — including House and Senate office buildings — with as “many people as possible” to “show our politicians We the People are in charge.”
The unnamed individual messaged Tarrio insisting: “The revolution is [more] important than anything,” to which the Proud Boy leader responded, “That’s what every waking moment consists of… I’m not playing games.”
On Jan. 1, 2021, Tarrio continued to hype the same themes, posting to social media his hope for a “New Years Revolution.”
On Jan. 6, the indictment alleges, Tarrio posted a social media message that touted, “1776,” adding: “Revolutionaries are now at the Rayburn building,” one of the House office buildings referred to in his associate’s “1776 Returns” plan.
Tarrio was arrested as a leader of the alleged conspiracy, though he did not participate directly in the Proud Boys’ activities on Jan. 6, as he had been arrested two days earlier for burning a Black Lives Matter flag. Tarrio was quickly released and ordered to leave the District of Columbia. But the indictment alleges that Tarrio did not comply at first, and instead on Jan. 5 met up with the leader of the Oath Keepers, who is now in jail on seditious conspiracy charges alleging he sought to violently block the transfer of power to Joe Biden.
“Tarrio traveled to a nearby underground parking garage, where he met with Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, and other individuals known and unknown to the grand jury, for approximately 30 minutes,” the indictment reads. “During this encounter, a participant referenced the Capitol.”
According to the indictment, Tarrio was in Baltimore on Jan. 6, but continued to direct his subordinates. These Proud Boys allegedly dressed “incognito” to avoid being identified as Proud Boys. The overt actions of the group included, according to the indictment, “dismantling metal barricades” erected to protect law enforcement and the Capitol; “storming past barricades, Capitol Police, and other law enforcement officers in efforts to disrupt the proceedings at the Capitol”; “destroying property, including a metal fence and a window”; and “assaulting law enforcement officers.”
Tarrio, who served several months in D.C. jail for his flag burning charge, announced he was stepping down from Proud Boy leadership last summer. He was arrested in Miami on Tuesday morning and is expected to make a first court appearance Tuesday afternoon.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Read the full indictment below:
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