Federal authorities have filed at least four separate cases against six individual members of the far-right nationalist group Proud Boys accusing them of coordinating some of their actions during the violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol in January as the group’s leader warns of “more violence.”
According to the New York Times, federal officials in court filings have alleged that Proud Boy members engaged in some measure of planning with regard to their participation in the Capitol violence.
In the complaints, prosecutors have alleged ahead of the riots one Proud Boys member sought donations for protective gear, some members showed up at the Capitol with communication equipment and others were ordered to show up “undercover” and not in their typical black-and-yellow shirts.
Lawyers representing some of the accused Proud Boys have consistently denied any sort of planning went into the attack and have claimed their participation in the storming of the Capitol was spontaneous.
Amid increasing pressure from federal authorities, Proud Boys’ leader Enrique Tarrio told Sky News in an interview that the clamp down on the group will lead to more violence.
Speaking to Sky News, Tarrio threatened that Biden’s attempt to crack down on domestic terror groups will backfire if he fails to listen to people’s grievances. “I think that, yes, there will be more violence. You keep silencing people. You keep de-platforming them, de-financing them, dehumanizing them, and they’re going to react. It’s an expected reaction.”
The Proud Boys—who had once been asked by President Trump to “stand back and stand by” during a televised debate— have reportedly been the primary focus of the FBI’s investigation into the Capitol attacks. Earlier this week, the FBI filed charges against Proud Boys member Ethan Nordean alleging that Nordean and other members had planned to target law enforcement at the Capitol on the day of the attack, partly motivated by what they believe was insufficient police response to the stabbing of one of their members at a pro-Trump demonstration in December. The FBI’s focus on Proud Boys comes amid the Biden administration’s attempt to overhaul the federal government’s approach to domestic terrorism, which is now seen as the biggest security threat to the country.
Earlier this week, the Canadian government moved to formally designate the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization, a move that could significantly impact the group’s operations. Police in Canada will not be able to seize the group’s finances and treat any crime committed by the members of the group as terrorist activity.