A documentary film crew attended an illicit, parking-garage meetup between the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers in downtown Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, 2021, according to a memo filed by prosecutors seeking to keep Enrique Tarrio locked up pending trial.
Tarrio was the National Chairman of the Proud Boys during the events of Jan. 6, 2021. The Proud Boys are a violent “Western chauvinist” organization designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Tarrio faces federal conspiracy charges for attempting to obstruct Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Donald Trump.
On Monday, federal prosecutors filed a memo arguing that Tarrio should be denied bail because he poses a “danger to the community” and also presents “a serious risk of flight and of obstructing justice.”
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The 21-page memo lays out a detailed recap of the evidence against Tarrio, who is alleged to have organized and directed an undercover Proud Boys subgroup called the Ministry of Self Defense, or MOSD, whose members went on to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Tarrio “spearheaded” the conspiracy, the memo alleges. “Tarrio created the MOSD, and was instrumental in choosing its leaders and members and imposing a strict top down command model,” it reads, adding that “Tarrio directed and orchestrated the MOSD’s violent acts entirely remotely … in the weeks leading up to January 6, and on the day itself.”
Most intriguing, however, is the light the memo shines on a parking-garage meeting between the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers on the day before the insurrection. The existence of the meeting has been public for some time, but the memo reveals that at least parts of it were caught on tape. “A documentary film crew was present in the garage,” the memo states, “and, at one point, picked up audio of a person referencing the Capitol.”
For context, recall that Tarrio had been arrested the previous day for burning a Black Lives Matter flag in front of a church. The Proud Boys leader was released on Jan. 5, with orders to leave D.C. (Indeed, Tarrio would spend Jan. 6 in nearby Baltimore.) But the memo alleges that “Tarrio did not immediately comply with the order. Instead, he traveled to an underground parking garage, located in downtown Washington, D.C., where for approximately 30 minutes he met with a group of individuals that included Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers.”
Rhodes faces even more serious charges of leading a seditious conspiracy to block the transfer of presidential power by force.
The memo hints that more of the meeting was recorded. It reveals that Tarrio told “another individual” to not worry about authorities having gleaned the Proud Boys’ plans due to his arrest, “because he had cleared all of the messages on his phone,” adding that “no one would be able to get into his phone because there were ‘two steps’ to get into it.”
The memo is frustratingly silent about who the this film crew was, and whose activities were they documenting in the garage.
However, the government lawyers leave little doubt that they have a rich trove of evidence against Tarrio — who allegedly bragged after the events of Jan. 6 of the Proud Boys’ involvement. “Make no mistake…we did this,” Tarrio wrote, telling his top deputies that the next step was to “do it again.”
Read the full memo arguing for Tarrio’s detention below.
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