Four out of the five members of the extremist group, the Proud Boys, indicted for seditious conspiracy on Monday by federal authorities are military veterans. According to court documents, these five men were arrested for playing a significant role in the January 6 riot at the Capitol in 2001.
According to Military.com, the Proud Boys facing charges include two marines, a Soldier, and a Naval recruit who “washed out in boot camp” after just over a month and never graduated from basic training in Great Lakes, Illinois. The fifth was Enrique Tarrio, former Proud Boys chairman.
Longtime Proud Boys leader Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio and 4 top lieutenants charged with seditious conspiracy in widening Jan. 6 case https://t.co/tzoTmZCkSS
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 6, 2022
The indictment mentions a sixth Proud Boy member who is also a Marine veteran, Charles Donohoe. Back in April, Donohoe plead guilty to two charges linked to the riot and has been cooperative with prosecutors, according to court records.
The exclusively male, neo-fascist, extremists group was founded in 2016 in the far-right Taki’s Magazine. They took their name from a song from Disney’s 2011 Aladdin musical called “Proud of your Boy.” The group played a pivotal role in the 2021 attack on the US Capitol.
The charges the men face allege that they were the tip of the spear that first defeated police barricades and broke windows to the Capitol building. As a result of their actions, the building sustained $1.5 million in damages, 114 law enforcement officials were injured, five police were killed, and two more police committed suicide in the following days.
Senior researcher at the University of Maryland, Michael Jensen said, “What we saw in the lead-up to Jan. 6 was that [veterans] were the ones making the decisions about how the group was going to behave, how it was going to organize on January 6th.” Jenson specializes in and studies extremism.
The veteran status of these four men and the role they played in the Capitol riot are reminiscent of charges filed against the Oath Keepers and Stewart Rhodes, the group’s founder. The sheer volume of former military personnel at the riot challenge claims made by former Army Ranger, Jariko Denman, who told Fox News that the military had effectively “stamped out racism.”
“There’s concern about what [extremism] does to the reputation of military service and the veteran community. Whenever a veteran does something violent, it generates a lot of negative news that reflects poorly on the veteran community. What we lose in that news cycle is the fact that there are millions of veterans that are never going to radicalize.”