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Who are the Proud Boys? Leader Enrique Tarrio jailed for 22 years over January 6 Capitol attack

Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio during a rally in Portland (AP)
Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio during a rally in Portland (AP)

The former leader of the right-wing Proud Boys group Enrique Tarrio has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in the attack on the US Capitol.

Tarrio, 39, from Miami, lowered his head after being given the sentence on Tuesday, before squaring his shoulders. He then raised his hand and made a “V” gesture with his fingers as he was led out of the courtroom. His sentencing comes as the Justice Department prepares to put ex-president Donald Trump on trial at the same courthouse in Washington on charges of fraud.

“Mr Tarrio was the ultimate leader of that conspiracy, the ultimate person who organised, who was motivated by revolutionary zeal,” the judge said.

Prosecutors had asked federal judge Timothy Kelly to sentence Tarrio to 33 years behind bars, and said he had helped direct the attack from Baltimore, while his attorneys had asked for no more than 15 years.

Who are the Proud Boys?

The Proud Boys is a male far-right group that promotes and engages in political violence.

The group’s leaders have been convicted of violently opposing the US government, including the constitutionally prescribed transfer of presidential power. The Proud Boys are known for their opposition to left-wing and progressive groups and for their support of Mr Trump.

The group was born in the far-right Taki’s Magazine in 2016 under the leadership of Vice Media co-founder and former commentator Gavin McInnes.

It took its name from the song Proud of Your Boy from the 2011 Disney musical Aladdin.

During the October 2020 presidential debate, Mr Trump’s comment, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by” caused outcry and was said to come across as an endorsement. Trump condemned the Proud Boys while saying he did not “know much about” them.

According to the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, the group believes men and Western culture are under siege, using “Western chauvinism” as euphemism for the white genocide conspiracy theory.

The Anti-Defamation League described the Proud Boys as “extremist conservative” and “alt lite”, “overtly Islamophobic and misogynistic”, “transphobic and anti-immigration”, and “all too willing to embrace racists”.

Who is Enrique Tarrio?

Tarrio served as the Florida state director of the grassroots organisation Latinos for Donald Trump. He was a candidate in the Republican primary election for Florida’s 27th congressional district in 2020 but withdrew. A former federal prosecutor and the transcripts of a 2014 federal court proceeding revealed he was an informant to both federal and local law enforcement.

Who is Gavin McInnes?

McInnes is a Canadian writer, comic and political commentator who co-founded Vice media in 2016. Since then, he and the group have appeared alongside other alt-right groups at extremist gatherings, included the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2018. At the rally, counter-protester Heather Heyer died and 19 others were injured.

What happened during the Capitol attack?

On January 6, 2021, more than 2,000 rioters entered the Capitol building. Many vandalised and looted parts of it, including the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D‑CA) and other members of Congress. Rioters also assaulted Capitol Police officers and reporters, and attempted to locate lawmakers to capture and harm them.