How Enrique Tarrio Went From Proud Boys Leader to Prisoner for 22 Years

Russell Nketiah Tannor

How Enrique Tarrio Went From Proud Boys Leader to Prisoner for 22 Years

 Enrique Tarrio, the former national leader of the Proud Boys, a far-right group that supports former President Donald Trump, was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Tuesday for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot. He is the last of five Proud Boys members to be sentenced for seditious conspiracy, a rare charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Tarrio, who identifies as Afro-Cuban, took over as leader of the Proud Boys in 2018. He was arrested in Washington, DC, two days before the riot for burning a Black Lives Matter banner and bringing high-capacity rifle magazines into the district. He was ordered by a judge to leave the city and ended up watching the events of January 6 from a hotel room in Baltimore.

However, prosecutors said that Tarrio was instrumental in organizing the Proud Boys' involvement in the riot, which aimed to stop the certification of the 2020 election results that confirmed Joe Biden as the winner. Tarrio created a command structure within the group that dictated how members would work when attending rallies. He also expressed his support for the rioters online and was in touch with his co-defendants on the ground.

The Proud Boys were among the first to breach the Capitol building, breaking past barriers and police lines and smashing windows to let other rioters inside. The attack resulted in five deaths, hundreds of injuries, and widespread damage to the historic building. It also temporarily halted the congressional proceedings and forced lawmakers to evacuate.

Tarrio's sentence is the longest of any of the hundreds of defendants charged in connection with the riot. His co-defendants, Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs, two of the group's top lieutenants, were sentenced to 18 and 17 years in prison, respectively. Zachary Rehl, a local chapter leader, was sentenced to 15 years behind bars, while Dominic Pezzola, a low-level member who was acquitted of seditious conspiracy but convicted of other charges, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The sentences reflect the seriousness of the charges and the role that the Proud Boys played in the riot. They also send a message to other extremist groups that such actions will not be tolerated by the justice system. The Proud Boys have been designated as a hate group by several organizations and have been involved in violent clashes with anti-fascist protesters and law enforcement officers.

The group has been steadfast supporters of Trump, who refused to concede defeat in the 2020 election and falsely claimed that it was rigged. Trump has also been accused of inciting the riot by telling his supporters to "fight like hell" and "stop the steal" at a rally before the attack. However, he has not been charged with any crime related to January 6.

Tarrio will have the chance to appeal his sentence, but his prospects are not very promising. He will likely spend most of his life behind bars, while his former group faces an uncertain future without its leader. The case of Enrique Tarrio shows how one man's loyalty to a political cause can lead him to ruin.


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