Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the chairman of The Proud Boys, is asking a judge for an early release from jail. The right-wing extremist has grumbled to the court, saying that jail conditions are inhumane and the correction officers are harassing him.
NBC News reports that on Monday, Nov. 15, during a video hearing with District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Jonathan Pittman, Tarrio made his request to spend the rest of his five-month sentence in his home under house arrest.
He said, “I’ve been to jail before, and what I’ve seen here, I’ve never seen anywhere else. This place needs to be shut down immediately.”
The Miami native is currently serving time for taking a Black Lives Matter banner from the historic Asbury United Methodist Church, a predominately Black institution in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020.
Originally his attorneys thought that he would only get probation, but he soon found out that District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Harold L. Cushenberry Jr. sentenced him to 155 days in jail.
Now Tarrio wants that 155 knocked down to 90. He told the judge that he was “deathly afraid that something is going to happen” to him.
Tarrio (who identifies as Cuban-American and Afro-Cuban ), rattled off a list of jail hazards in making his case to the judge. He shared that his cell constantly is soiled by toilet water from another cell, suggesting that human waste travels from one neighbor to another. He said that during times when he and others incarcerated with him were in need of medical assistance, correctional guards ignored requests for aid.
He further complained that his food is many times inedible and cold, punctuating this grievance by claiming that the guards throw the food at him. Lucas Dansie, Tarrio’s attorney, stated that her client was even threatened by the guards to keep quiet about the conditions.
She wrote in a statement, “Mr. Tarrio has been intimidated and antagonized by correctional staff to dissuade him from making complaints about the horrendous conditions.”
While the DC Department of Corrections has not given a formal statement, lawyers representing the government say that there has been no mistreatment of the inmate.
They did, however, note that the flooding in his cell can be explained. His neighbor, who is also serving time in the same facility, uses the overflowing of his cell’s toilet to protest — and has performed this act of protest multiple times.
Other right-wingers who politically align with Torrio and have been sentenced to jail time, have also sent in complaints about their facilities. The Independent reports that there may be validity to some of these charges.
Last month, a federal judge held the District of Columbia’s corrections director and jail warden in contempt of court for denying a Proud Boys member medical attention for his broken wrist while he was locked up. These types of complaints have led the District and the US Marshals Service to agree to implement a program to improve jail conditions.
With this in mind, Judge Pittman is taking the request under consideration but implies Tarrio isn’t being singled out if the conditions are consistent throughout the jail. He said, “It is obviously distressing to hear of these conditions. I come back to the same question: How is Mr. Tarrio’s condition any different than any other inmate at the jail?”
Judge Pittman did not give him an immediate decision on freeing Tarrio, stating he would give his answer over the next few days.
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