Text messages released Tuesday between Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and a lieutenant from the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Intelligence Bureau (IB) shed light on the department’s relationship with the Proud Boys ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
MPD’s IB routinely focused on anti-racist and antifascist protesters during former President Donald Trump’s tenure, according to a cache of 26,000 leaked MPD emails dated from May 2011 to December 2017. The IB monitors demonstrations in Washington, D.C. The emails contain IB surveillance logs concerning demonstrations organized by such groups as antifa and D.C. Black Lives Matter. Lt. Shane Lamond was copied on many of these emails. The texts confirm Lamond gave Tarrio the location of antifascist protesters in the district. The two shared a warm relationship, even meeting for a beer at a D.C. bar on the night of Dec. 15, 2020.
Attorneys entered the messages between Lamond and Tarrio into evidence for the trial of Tarrio and four other Proud Boys. Tarrio and his Proud Boys subordinates face charges of seditious conspiracy for allegedly plotting to stop the peaceful transfer of power from former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden on Jan. 6, 2021.
Tarrio was not in D.C. for the Jan. 6 insurrection. MPD arrested him on Jan. 4, 2021, for the burning of a Black Lives Matter (BLM) banner at a historic Black church on Dec. 12, 2020. MPD placed Lamond on leave in February 2022 over his alleged improper communication with Tarrio.
Lamond’s attorney, Mark Schamel, told the Associated Press (AP) that his client did not “assist or support the hateful and divisive agenda of any of the various groups that came to DC to protest” and only communicated with Tarrio because his job required it.
The texts contain Lamond giving Tarrio information about “antifa,” including antifascist protesters’ location relative to Proud Boys inside the city.
On Nov. 14, 2020, Lamond texted Tarrio: “Antifa and your guys at 10th and E. We have both groups separated”. Later that evening, Lamond wrote to Tarrio that MPD had “cut your guy loose. Victim could not be located”
On Dec. 9, 2020, Lamond texted Tarrio: “Hey brother, I’m sure you’ve heard Antifa is calling the hotels urging them to cancel reservations for trump supporters this weekend [sic]. Will you have guys staying at Harrington again? That’s one of them on the list.”
Tarrio responded early the next day: “I told my guys to not go to Harry’s,” referring to the hotel bar.
Michael German, a fellow with the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program, told Hatewatch he found “concerning” some of the messages Lamond sent to Tarrio.
When the Proud Boys demonstrated in D.C. on the night of Dec. 11, 2020 – a night before Tarrio set the BLM banner ablaze – Lamond was in frequent contact with the Proud Boys leader. Lamond asked Tarrio if the extremist group had “other plans” that evening. Tarrio told him Proud Boys planned to walk through D.C. before returning to their hotel.
“Copy. Antifa should be staying up at BLM Plaza. Do you want me to let our uniformed officers
know that or keep it to myself? I will be around all night in case anything kicks off,” Lamond responded.
German said the texts “seem to suggest to Tarrio that he might not let the police know that Black Lives Matter” or “antiracist activists were at the plaza, so that the proud boys could go and confront them without the police there.”
'We just locked up one of your guys'
Lamond alerted Tarrio to the arrest of at least one Proud Boy on the night of Dec. 12, 2020. That night, the Proud Boys violently clashed with counterprotesters throughout D.C.
“We just locked up one of your guys at 14th and K,” Lamond texted Tarrio at 7:30 p.m.
On Dec. 14, 2020, Lamond informed Tarrio he had just heard his messages. The two frequently sent each other voice messages in the texts. It is unclear exactly what they said in these messages.
However, Lamond continued by saying someone “will be released at the ramp at 3rd and C Streets NW this afternoon” and gave Tarrio directions to the ramp.
Whether Lamond was referring to the same person is unclear.
On Dec. 18, 2020, Lamond contacted Tarrio about the investigation into the banner burning. Lamond told Tarrio he informed “CID” (presumably a criminal investigation division inside MPD) that the Proud Boys “are made up of a lot of Latinos and blacks so not a racist thing.”
Later that day, Tarrio texted a group chat of Proud Boys leaders: “We got the jump on the narrative for the banner burning. This should make it next to impossible for them to use the ‘hate crime’ enhancement.”
Lamond told Tarrio on Dec. 25, 2020, that he identified Tarrio for CID, “So they may be submitting an arrest warrant to US Attorney’s Office.”
German, who previously worked as an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated far-right groups, explained that informing the subject of an investigation of a warrant is “very dangerous.” German noted that Tarrio is the “the head of a group that has engaged in violence in the past,” and warned that person of the warrant “creates a much more dangerous situation.”
Schamel told the AP that Lamond aided police in Tarrio’s arrest.
German said that while these texts are concerning, it cannot be known how much of it was legitimate intelligence gathering without seeing what Lamond reported in intelligence reports.
The two also discussed the Proud Boys’ plans for Jan. 6. On Dec. 19, 2020, Lamond sent Tarrio information about the then-upcoming pro-Trump protest. He asked, “Would you let me know if your group decides to participate?”
“If we do it’ll be extremely small and not in colors,” Tarrio said.
Lamond replied: “Copy that. I appreciate it.”
Banner photo credit: Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio is seen after being released from police custody on Jan. 5, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Amy Harris/Shutterstock)