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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Proud Boys Leaders in 4 States Are Charged in Capitol Riot

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WASHINGTON — F.B.I. brokers have arrested two organizers for the Proud Boys in Philadelphia and North Carolina, and prosecutors filed new prices in opposition to two different distinguished members of the far-right group in Florida and Washington State as federal authorities continued their crackdown on its management ranks, three regulation enforcement officers stated on Wednesday.

With the brand new conspiracy indictment, prosecutors have now introduced prices in opposition to a complete of 13 individuals recognized in courtroom papers as members of the Proud Boys. Federal investigators have described the group, which appeared in power in Washington on Jan. 6, as one of many chief instigators of the riot on the Capitol that left 5 individuals useless, together with a Capitol Police officer.

Within the indictment, prosecutors accused Charles Donohoe, a Proud Boys chief from North Carolina, and Zach Rehl, the president of the group’s chapter in Philadelphia, of conspiring to intervene with regulation enforcement officers on the Capitol and hinder the certification of President Biden’s electoral victory. Two different high-ranking Proud Boys who have been already going through related prices — Ethan Nordean of Auburn, Wash., and Joseph Biggs of Ormond Seaside, Fla. — have been additionally implicated as a part of the conspiracy.

The F.B.I. declined to remark.

The Proud Boys, who emerged lately as a few of former President Donald J. Trump’s most vocal and violent supporters, describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” and have a historical past of bloody avenue fights with left-wing antifascist activists. These clashes intensified final 12 months through the nationwide protests stemming from the loss of life of George Floyd by the hands of the police in Minneapolis. Throughout a presidential debate in September, Mr. Trump refused to disavow the Proud Boys, telling them as an alternative in a broadly watched second to “stand again and stand by.”

Whereas the Proud Boys had largely managed to keep away from federal scrutiny, that modified after the Jan. 6 riot. The F.B.I. started aggressively investigating members of the group concerned within the assault on the Capitol. Brokers have searched properties throughout the nation, scoured social media accounts and delved into the non-public communications of Proud Boys leaders. Members of the group have been charged in 4 conspiracy instances, accused of crimes together with threatening a federal officer and the destruction of presidency property.

The conspiracy case unsealed on Wednesday was the most recent product of the efforts to prosecute the Proud Boys. Investigators have stated that Mr. Biggs, 37, and Mr. Nordean, 30, geared up with radios and a bullhorn, led a mob of about 100 members and supporters of the group that marched via the streets of Washington on Jan. 6 chanting slogans and finally breached safety limitations on the Capitol. Some Proud Boys have been among the many first rioters to shatter home windows and enter the constructing, confronting cops inside.

Mr. Biggs, a former Military sergeant, was launched from custody pending trial shortly after his arrest in January, and his case has been in a type of authorized holding sample for weeks. Mr. Nordean was launched from custody on March 3 after the chief decide of the Federal District Courtroom in Washington agreed along with his attorneys that the proof that he was accountable for aiding and abetting the violence and property destruction dedicated by his fellow Proud Boys on the Capitol was — a minimum of at that time — comparatively weak.

Mr. Rehl, 35, has styled himself as one of many Proud Boys’ most distinguished representatives on the East Coast and has led the group’s Philadelphia chapter since a minimum of 2018, based on federal regulation enforcement officers. This summer season, he and different Proud Boys have been noticed socializing with native cops exterior a Philadelphia police union lodge.

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