A jury has sentenced the former national chairman of the neo-fascist, extremist group, the Proud Boys, to 22 years behind bars after being found guilty of multiple federal felonies in connection to the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol.
In May, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was convicted of seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent members of Congress and federal law enforcement officers from discharging their duties, civil disorder, and destruction of government property. He now has the longest sentence so far among the Capitol Riot cases.
A terrorism sentencing enhancement that a judge granted lengthened Tarrio’s sentence. His co-conspirators, also former Proud Boy Leaders, in this sedition case were given lower prison terms, between 10 and 18 years.
Last week, Joe Biggs was sentenced to 17 years. Zachary Rehl must spend 15 years in prison and Ethan Nordean was given an 18-year sentence. Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boy who wasn’t found guilty of seditious conspiracy, will have to serve 10 years.
Tarrio wasn’t actually present for the insurrection since he was arrested two days prior for tearing down a Black Lives Matter banner from a historic Black church in downtown Washington, D.C. This followed a series of attacks on four other churches that were vandalized just weeks before the riot. The Proud Boys were ordered to pay $1 million to one of those churches.
However, authorities were concerned about his presence in the city and potential unrest breaking out as Congress certified the 2020 presidential election results. So, after his arrest, a judge ordered him to leave the city.
Prosecutors stated, however, that evidence revealed Tarrio “strategically calculated his arrest as a means to inspire a reaction by his followers.” They alleged that he directed his followers to breach the Capitol without him from a hotel in Baltimore, making him an integral player in the plan to stop the peaceful transfer of power.
Tarrio’s attorney characterized him as a “misguided patriot” who only wanted to protest the election and confront antifa demonstrators. Lawyers for other Proud Boys defendants pitched similar defenses, stating that their clients weren’t involved in plotting attacks or stopping the certification.
However, many Proud Boys members, including organization leaders, were among the first to storm the Capitol building, which set off a full-scale evacuation of the chambers where Congress members were certifying Biden’s electoral victory.
The Proud Boys, alongside the far-right Oath Keepers group, also face a federal lawsuit over the role they played in planning and carrying out the attack. Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his actions leading up to the riot.
Former president Donald Trump faces a criminal indictment for his alleged role in attempting to overturn the election, which incited hundreds of rioters to launch the insurrection.
More than 1,100 people were arrested and charged following the Jan. 6 riot. More than 300 have been sentenced so far.