Enrique Tarrio and 4 Proud Boys members charged with sedition in Jan 6 riots, Internet asks 'what took so long'
The Justice Department on Monday, June 6, charged the head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio and four other leaders with seditious conspiracy in the January 6 US Capitol attack, escalating the criminal case against the far-right extremist group. As per the charge sheet released by the Department of Justice, "Their actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election."
The defendants include Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, 38, of Miami, Florida, the former national chairman of the Proud Boys; Ethan Nordean, 31, of Auburn, Washington; Joseph Biggs, 38, of Ormond Beach, Florida; Zachary Rehl, 37, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Dominic Pezzola, 44, of Rochester, New York. All previously were indicted and remain detained. They pleaded not guilty to charges contained in earlier indictments.
Proud Boys indicted
Amee Vanderpool, an author, and attorney shared the indictment and statement released by the Department of Justice on Twitter.
Proud Boys Leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was arrested in Miami after a DC Grand Jury returned a superseding indictment that adds two charges to the earlier indictment: one count of seditious conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties. pic.twitter.com/dPvXMYyrTa— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) June 6, 2022
Many social media users showed their resentment regarding the matter. One user wrote, "It's about time! What took so long?" "And are who he was in conspiracy with (members of GOP, Stone, Bannon,Trump) going to be charged?", another user wrote
It's about time! What took so long?— Diogenes Lantern O'Byrne (@rbyrne6722) June 6, 2022
And are who he was in conspiracy with (members of GOP, Stone, Bannon,Trump) going to be charged?— Merritt Kelly (@MerrittKelly1) June 6, 2022
What happens to Roger Stone?
Roger Stone and Trump's names figured prominently in the reactions to this verdict online. One mockingly wrote: "Roger Stone is doubling up on his Depends® now that his little Proud Boy crew got charged with seditious conspiracy. 20 years in federal prison if convicted. Thoughts and prayers, traitors." While one wrote: "Does everyone understand that the only way the Proud Boys committed Seditious Conspiracy is if Roger Stone was involved. And that puts you one degree away from Trump. Yes, the DOJ is doing their job."
In 2021, Tarrio, claimed to have spoken to Stone days ahead of the Capitol riots. According to Tarrio, he put Stone on speakerphone to address a gathering of protesters outside Senator Marco Rubio's home in Florida. The shocking revelations were speculated to reveal the strong links between far-right extremist groups and Donald Trump.
Roger Stone is doubling up on his Depends® now that his little Proud Boy crew got charged with seditious conspiracy.— The USA Singers (@TheUSASingers) June 7, 2022
20 years in federal prison if convicted.
Thoughts and prayers, traitors.
Does everyone understand that the only way the Proud Boys committed Seditious Conspiracy is if Roger Stone was involved.— RU Serious (@RUSeriousIsBack) June 7, 2022
And that puts you one degree away from Trump.
Yes, the DOJ is doing their job.
Jan 6 Capitol riots orders
The new indictment adds fresh details about what Proud Boys leaders said on January 6, 2021. Prosecutors accuse the five defendants of working together to intimidate members of Congress and law enforcement and prompt them to flee, thereby preventing them from performing their official duties. The indictment further alleges that Tarrio was aware of discussions around a plan to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, and was involved in discussions about occupying buildings, including Capitol complex buildings.
According to the indictment, the Proud Boys discussed storming the Capitol in an online chat on January 6 where Tarrio appeared to compare the attack on the US Capitol to "The Winter Palace" -- the home of the Russian emperor, which was stormed during the Russian Revolution in 1917. In the texts, Tarrio appears to comment on Congress being evacuated from the chambers, unable to certify the Electoral College vote.
“Brother. You know we made this happen... I’m so proud of my country today,” the unnamed individual wrote, according to the indictment. “I know,” Tarrio replied. The unnamed person then responds with “1776” and profanity, a reference to the US Revolution. “The Winter Palace,” Tarrio responded, referencing the Russian revolution, according to the indictment. “Dude. Did we just influence history?” the person later responded, before Congress had returned to certify the election results.
“Let’s first see how this plays out,” Tarrio replied, according to the indictment.
In defense of the Proud Boys
The defendants are set to be in court later this week. Lawyers for Nordean, Rehl, Pezzola, and Biggs have maintained in court that their clients had no plan when they walked to the Capitol on January 6, while Tarrio's lawyers have stressed that their client left Washington on January 5 after being arrested for burning a church's Black Lives Matter banner in December 2020.
Carmen Hernandez, the attorney of Rehl responded saying, "The worst that has been alleged against Mr. Rehl is that he has associated himself with the Proud Boys, a lawful fraternal association as is his right protected by the First Amendment," Hernandez said, adding that "to bring such serious charges against Mr. Rehl at this late date without alleging a single new fact against him is simply wrong and deserves a response."
According to the charge sheet, the sixth defendant, who was earlier charged with the group, pleaded guilty on April 8, 2022. Charles Donohoe, 34, of Kernersville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. And, In the 17 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.