On September 5, 2023, Enrique Tarrio, the former chairman of the far-right Proud Boys group, was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. This sentence is the longest to date for any individual involved in the events of that day.
Prosecutors had initially sought a 33-year sentence for Tarrio, but the judge weighed various factors before handing down the 22-year sentence. Tarrio was found guilty of seditious conspiracy earlier this year, making him one of the key figures responsible for the attack on the Capitol.
It is important to note that Tarrio himself was not physically present at the riot as he had been arrested two days prior in connection with a separate incident. He had been released from jail on the condition that he not enter Washington, D.C. However, prosecutors argued that his absence from the siege did not diminish the severity of his conduct in orchestrating the Proud Boys' involvement in the event. They described him as a “general rather than a soldier,” a sentiment that the judge concurred with.
Tarrio's sentence is one of the longest handed to any Capitol riot defendant thus far. Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia, received a sentence of 18 years earlier this year for seditious conspiracy. Tarrio's attorney, Sabino Jauregui, argued in court that his client was a “misguided patriot” rather than a terrorist.
During the sentencing hearing, Tarrio delivered a contrite statement, expressing apologies to members of law enforcement, the citizens of Washington, lawmakers, and his family. He acknowledged that he had not intended to cause harm or change the outcome of the election.
The evidence presented in court showed that Tarrio played a significant role in organizing and motivating the attack on Congress. Federal prosecutors described him as a “naturally charismatic leader” and a “savvy propagandist” who had influence over numerous subordinate members. They stated that Tarrio had used this influence to organize and execute the conspiracy to forcibly stop the peaceful transfer of power.
Tarrio's conviction and sentencing are part of a broader effort to hold those responsible for the January 6 insurrection accountable. Several other prominent members of the Proud Boys have also received lengthy sentences, including Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs, who were sentenced to 18 and 17 years respectively. Zachary Rehl, a local Proud Boys chapter leader, received a 15-year sentence. Dominic Pezzola, who was acquitted of seditious conspiracy but convicted of other crimes, was sentenced to 10 years.
The sentencing of individuals like Tarrio serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding the peaceful transfer of power and the consequences that await those who attempt to undermine democratic institutions through violence. It is crucial for all involved in the events of January 6 to be held accountable, as this is necessary for the healing and moving forward of the nation. The sentences handed down send a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated and that the rule of law will prevail.
0. “Ex-Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio faces lengthy prison sentence for Jan. 6 riot” MPR News, 5 Sep. 2023, https://www.mprnews.org/story/2023/09/05/npr-enrique-tarrio-proud-boys-jan-6-sentence
1. “Enrique Tarrio Proud Boys sentence isn't 33 years. That's OK.” MSNBC, 5 Sep. 2023, https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/enrique-tarrio-proud-boys-sentence-leader-rcna103357
2. “Proud Boys' Enrique Tarrio Gets Record 22 Years in Prison for Jan. 6 Seditious Conspiracy” KTVN, 5 Sep. 2023, https://www.2news.com/news/proud-boys-enrique-tarrio-gets-record-22-years-in-prison-for-jan-6-seditious-conspiracy/article_72570622-4c36-11ee-b7bf-bbd23875a635.html
3. “MAGA Fury Intensifies as Enrique Tarrio Sentenced to 22 Years” Newsweek, 5 Sep. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/maga-fury-intensifies-enrique-tarrio-sentenced-22-years-1824777
4. “Dominic Pezzola, Proud Boy who caused first breach of Capitol, sentenced to 10 years in prison” WUSA9.com, 1 Sep. 2023, https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/national/capitol-riots/proud-boy-who-caused-first-breach-of-capitol-sentenced-to-years-in-prison-dominic-pezzola-new-york-rochester-enrique-tarrio-biggs-rehl-nordean/65-f7330515-8100-4a98-a439-40c21a92c72c
5. “Proud Boys Ethan Nordean and Dominic Pezzola jailed for US Capitol riot” BBC, 1 Sep. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-66689547
6. “Prosecutors seek 33-year sentence for ex-Proud Boys member over his Jan. 6 role” UPI News, 5 Sep. 2023, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2023/09/05/proud-boys-leader-enrique-tarrio-to-be-sentenced-tuesday-january-6-riot/5551693936915
7. “Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys to be sentenced in Jan. 6 sedition case” NBC News, 5 Sep. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/enrique-tarrio-proud-boys-sentenced-jan-6-sedition-case-rcna103280
8. “Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Sentenced to 22 Years For Seditious Conspiracy” The Daily Beast, 5 Sep. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/proud-boys-leader-enrique-tarrio-sentenced-to-22-years-for-seditious-conspiracy
9. “Former Proud Boy members Ethan Nordean, Dominic Pezzola sentenced for role in Jan. 6 attacks” ABC News, 1 Sep. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/former-proud-boy-dominic-pezzola-sentenced-10-years/story?id=102861119
10. “Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys Finds Out” The Atlantic, 5 Sep. 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/09/enrique-tarrio-proud-boys-finds-out/675230/