By Nora Dahl
WASHINGTON, DC – Henry Tarrio, the former national chairman and leader of the Proud Boys, was arrested this week following his indictment on conspiracy and other charges in connection with the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, which disrupted a joint session of Congress in the process of ascertaining and counting electoral votes for the presidential election.
Tarrio, 38, was detained in Miami and was scheduled to appear in court in the Southern District of Florida. In the District of Columbia Tuesday.
Tarrio was included in an indictment that also identified five previously indicted individuals: Ethan Nordean, 31, of Auburn, Washington; Joseph Biggs, 38, of Ormond Beach, Florida; Zachary Rehl, 36, of Philadelphia; Charles Donohoe, 34, of Kernersville, North Carolina; and Dominic Pezzola, 44, of Rochester, New York.
The Proud Boys define themselves as a “pro-Western fraternal society for males who refuse to apologize for establishing the modern world, called Western Chauvinists,” according to court filings.
Tarrio served as the organization’s national chairman until at least January 6, 2021. Tarrio formed the “Ministry of Self Defense,” a special chapter of the Proud Boys, in mid-December.
Tarrio and his co-defendants, all leaders or members of the Ministry of Self Defense, plotted to corruptly hinder, influence, and impede an official proceeding, the certification of the Electoral College vote, beginning in or around December 2020, according to the accusation.
The defendants directed, mobilized, and led members of the crowd onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol on Jan. 6, resulting in the destruction of metal barricades, property destruction, and assaults on police, the court pleading alleges.
Tarrio is not charged with physically participating in the Capitol breach, but the indictment claims that he oversaw preparatory preparation and maintained touch with other Proud Boys members during the Capitol breach.
Tarrio missed the Jan. 6 Capitol breach after he was arrested Jan. 4 on a warrant issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia charging him with carrying ammunition into D.C. and the destruction of property in connection with the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner on December 12, 2020.
On January 5, 2021, at around 5 p.m., he was released. He was ordered by the court to keep out of Washington as a condition of his parole.
Tarrio allegedly continued to instruct and support the Proud Boys preceding and during the event on Jan. 6, 2021, and claimed responsibility for what occurred on social media and in an encrypted chat channel during and after the attack, according to the indictment.
Tarrio was charged with one crime of conspiracy to hinder an official proceeding, one act of obstruction of an official proceeding, and two counts of assaulting, obstructing, or impeding specific officials, as well as two counts of destruction of government property.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice’s National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are investigating this case. The charges are the product of extensive collaboration between agents from multiple FBI Field Offices and law enforcement organizations.
More than 775 people have been detained in virtually all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the US Capitol in the 14 months since Jan. 6, including over 245 people charged with assaulting or hindering police enforcement.