WASHINGTON— Today, jurors reached a verdict in the case of United States of America v Tarrio et al., finding Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys, and members including Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl guilty of seditious conspiracy.
“The Proud Boys are finally being held accountable for the key role they played in the violent insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,” said Cassie Miller, senior research analyst with SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “Today’s verdict sends a powerful message that all organizations, leaders and elected officials who were responsible for the violent attack on our democracy will be held responsible for their actions.
“While today’s convictions are a victory for the rule of law, we also need to acknowledge the continued threat the Proud Boys and other rightwing extremists pose to our democracy and to targeted communities. This threat is particularly acute for Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ people, especially transgender people who face a campaign of harassment and dehumanization from the Proud Boys and their allies.”
The SPLC’s Intelligence Project has been tracking the Proud Boys since its inception in 2016. Established during the 2016 presidential election by VICE Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys are now one of the largest far-right extremist groups in the United States, with around 77 chapters nationwide.
Among far-right groups, the Proud Boys has been uniquely able to sustain and expand its membership, often despite members facing criminal charges or public backlash for their violent actions. This is, in part, because the group relies heavily on humor and rituals to deflect attention from their extremist views. Despite legal challenges and convictions, its members continue to use violence and harassment to intimidate those they consider their political enemies.