Former Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Gets 22-Year Term

Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the Proud Boys, was handed down a sentence of 22 years

by Faruk Imamovic
Former Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Gets 22-Year Term
© Getty Images News/Joe Raedle

In a landmark decision, Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the Proud Boys, was handed down a sentence of 22 years for his involvement in the unsuccessful scheme to ensure former President Donald Trump remained in power following the 2020 elections.

Although prosecutors lobbied for a 33-year sentence, the final verdict still stands as the longest in a series of judgements connected to the tumultuous events of January 6, 2021. Notably, before this, the harshest penalties for related crimes were 18-year sentences given to both Ethan Nordean, another Proud Boys affiliate, and Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Militia.

A Historic Prosecution

The US Department of Justice marked this as one of its paramount cases tied to the perilous assault on Congress. Enrique Tarrio, along with three of his associates, were declared guilty of multiple charges in May, including sedition—a crime stemming from the Civil War era, infrequently prosecuted till now.

However, following the events of January 6, it has made a resurgence, especially concerning far-right group members who played roles in the attack.

Tarrio's Appeal and the Court's Rejoinder

With evident emotion, Tarrio addressed the court, labeling the events of January 6 as a "national embarrassment".

In his statement, he extended an apology to the police officers who valiantly defended the Capitol and to the lawmakers who faced moments of terror. His plea for mercy, indicating his desire not to lose his 40s in incarceration, resonated with personal regret for letting down his family and a disassociation from political extremism.

However, despite his earnest appeal, the presiding judge noted a perceived lack of genuine remorse in Tarrio's statements. The necessity to send a clear and strong message to potential perpetrators factored heavily into the final verdict.

Prosecution's Take on the Gravity of the Situation

Prosecutor Conor Mulroe emphasized the gravity of the Proud Boys' strategy, stating that it nearly achieved its objective without relying on weapons or explosives. He highlighted the potential constitutional turmoil, underscoring the dangerous uncertainty Americans would have faced, uncertain about the identity and the process of determining their next president.

The Proud Boys and Tarrio's Role

As a self-described "Western chauvinist" group, the Proud Boys have frequently clashed with left-wing activists. Though Tarrio actively contributed to orchestrating the events leading up to January 6, he did not directly partake in the violence. His arrest and subsequent order to vacate Washington preceded the storming of the Capitol.