MIAMI (WSVN) - Federal investigators said a South Florida man who is currently behind bars and awaiting trial has a key connection to the U.S. Capitol riots: former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio.
The Cuban American Miami resident and four other members of the far right group are among those charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack.
The Proud Boys are widely recognized as a violent hate group. The group was mentioned frequently on Thursday night during the first prime-time hearing from the House committee in charge of investigating the insurrection.
“The Proud Boys, who ultimately led the invasion of the Capitol and the violence on that day,” said U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., a committee member.
Video shown during Thursday’s hearing showed Tarrio reacting to then President Donald Trump’s remarks during a presidential debate asking the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” when initially refusing to condemn white supremacy.
“I wish I would have made a ‘stand back and stand by’ shirt,” he said.
In a September 2020 interview with 7News, Tarrio said the Proud Boys’ reputation is unwarranted.
“Let me give it to you straight: I denounce white supremacy, I denounce antisemitism, I denounce racism, I denounce fascism, I denounce communism and any other -ism that is prejudiced towards people because of their race, religion, culture, tone of skin,” he said.
Tarrio is a convicted felon who once served as an FBI informant, but at the forefront of his current infamy is his alleged role in the violent attempt to overturn the November 2020 defeat of Donald Trump.
The Justice Department said Tarrio was not there when the violent mob stormed the Capitol, but he helped hatch the plot.
He was arrested at his Miami family home in early March after he was indicted on a conspiracy charge.
On June 6, the Justice Department upped the ante with the most serious charge in this case yet: seditious conspiracy. He is accused of inciting people to rebel against the government.
If convicted, Tarrio could spend 20 years in prison, and that’s where he is right now. A judge decided to keep him locked up while he waits for his day in court.
To date, 87 people from Florida have been charged in relation to the Capitol attack, more than any other state. Pennsylvania and Texas come in second with 69 residents each.
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