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Enrique Tarrio, former Proud Boys leader, denied jail release

Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys hate group, marches into Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., in December 2020. File Photo by Gamal Diab/EPA-EFE
Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys hate group, marches into Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., in December 2020. File Photo by Gamal Diab/EPA-EFE

May 28 (UPI) -- Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the extremist Proud Boys group, has been denied a request to be released from jail while he awaits trial for charges stemming from the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly wrote in an opinion denying his release that the court "finds the evidence against Tarrio very strong" and that measures such as home detention or a surety bond "do not adequately mitigate the threat of dangerousness Tarrio poses."

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Tarrio was arrested on Jan. 4, 2021, on a warrant charging him in Superior Court of the District of Columbia with the destruction of property for burning a Black Lives Matter banner along with possession of two large-capacity ammunition magazines in December 2020.

He was released on Jan. 5, 2021 and was not in Washington D.C. when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building to stop the certification of electoral college votes.

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However, Tarrio was added to an indictment in March 2022 charging five other alleged members of the hate group and is among the most high-profile of the hundreds who have been arrested for the insurrection.

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Tarrio, who has a lengthy criminal history, was indicted on one count of each conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and obstruction of an official proceeding, along with two counts each of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers and destruction of government property.

Florida Magistrate Judge Lauren Louis previously denied a request from Tarrio for release ahead of his trial but he then requested a bond review from Kelly.

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"Even though he was not physically present near the Capitol that day, Tarrio's alleged leadership and organizational role in the conspiracy -- as well as his alleged experience using encrypted communications channels to conceal his activity from law enforcement -- suggests that he has skillset, resources, and networks to plan similar challenges to the lawful functioning of the United States government in the future," Kelly wrote in his order denying Tarrio's request.

Encrypted and public messages from Tarrio presented by prosecutors allegedly show Tarrio's involvement before and during the insurrection -- describing himself and codefendant Dominic Pezzola as "lords of war," encouraging "revolution" and telling members not to leave the Capitol."

Tarrio argues that, essentially, the government does not have a smoking gun, perhaps in the form of direct evidence of an order from Tarrio to other Proud Boys to storm the Capitol," Kelly wrote in the opinion.

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"True, but again, that is hardly necessary for the evidence to be very strong in the aggregate for detention purposes."

Kelly noted that Tarrio also claims that he is no longer associated with the Proud Boys and that he expressed disapproval of the insurrection to law enforcement afterward.

"The court can hardly give much weight to these post-hoc, self-serving representations," Kelly wrote. "Especially given the above evidence that (especially in private) he approved of and took credit for the events of the day."

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