Proud Boys Members Receive Lengthy Prison Sentences Over Capitol Riot

Dominic Pezzola, 46, and Ethan Nordean, 32, two prominent members of the far-right group "Proud Boys," were handed significant prison sentences for their roles in the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Proud Boys Members Receive Lengthy Prison Sentences Over Capitol Riot
© Getty Images News/Nathan Howard

Dominic Pezzola, 46, and Ethan Nordean, 32, two prominent members of the far-right group "Proud Boys," were handed significant prison sentences for their roles in the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol. The event, which sent shockwaves around the globe, saw thousands breach the Capitol building, aiming to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

Pezzola, a former US Marine, was convicted of assaulting police officers and obstructing official proceedings. Footage from the day vividly captures him breaking a window with a riot shield and later enjoying what he called a "victory cigar" within the confines of the Capitol.

The court sentenced him to 10 years, a reflection of his direct involvement in the violence. Although he was found guilty of assault and obstruction, Pezzola was acquitted of the more severe charge of seditious conspiracy. Addressing the court, an emotional Pezzola expressed his remorse, admitting, "I never should've crossed the barrier at the Capitol that day." However, moments after receiving his sentence, he defiantly proclaimed, "Trump won!" On the other hand, Nordean, who hails from Washington state and is often referred to by his nickname "Rufio Panman", was given one of the longest sentences for the Capitol rioters – 18 years.

This stringent penalty stems from his charge of conspiracy to organize a riot. Nordean, who had a reputation for frequently clashing with antifa activists in the Pacific Northwest, led the Proud Boys' march on Congress that fateful day.

While he expressed his sorrow by labeling the day a "complete and utter tragedy," his sentence equaled that of Stewart Rhodes, the leader of another far-right group, the Oath Keepers, signaling the court's intent to deal harshly with the ringleaders of the insurrection.

Fallout Continues for Those Involved

The ramifications of the Capitol riot stretch beyond the courtroom. As these cases unfold, families of the defendants grapple with the backlash. Nordean's wife and sister, in a heartfelt appeal, sought leniency for him, while Pezzola's wife shared that their daughters had become targets of harassment and bullying at school.

Next on the docket is Enrique Tarrio, the former head of the Proud Boys, whose sentencing is eagerly anticipated next week. As the legal chapter on the Capitol riot continues to be written, it remains a painful reminder of the deep divides in American society and the fragility of democratic institutions.

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