The former leader of the American far-right group Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, was sentenced Tuesday September 5 to 22 years in prison. This is the heaviest sentence handed down for the assault on the Capitol, an unprecedented desecration of the sanctuary of American democracy.
Last week, the four other Proud Boys members convicted in May along with Enrique Tarrio were sentenced to 10 to 18 years in prison. The heaviest sentence to date for this attack, 18 years, was handed down to Stewart Rhodes, founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia.
“Ultimate” leader of the conspiracy
On January 6, 2021, some 200 members of the Proud Boys stormed the Capitol, seat of the US Congress, in an attempt to prevent the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over outgoing Republican President Donald Trump.
This day “broke our tradition of peaceful transfer of power,” again deplored the judge, Timothy Kelly.
Unlike the four other defendants, Enrique Tarrio, against whom the prosecution requested 33 years in prison, was not in Washington on this fateful date. But the judge found that “Mr. Tarrio was the ultimate leader of the conspiracy.”
The magistrate seemed little sensitive to the remorse expressed at the bar by the accused, his voice at times strangled by sobs, who described January 6, 2021 as a “horrible day” and implored his “clemency”, as had been said before with emotion his sister, his fiancée and his mother. Prosecutor Conor Mulroe urged the judge to give him a heavier sentence than the other defendants in this case.
Timothy Kelly took into account in his calculation the aggravating circumstances for acts of terrorism requested by the prosecutors but handed down sentences for each that were significantly lower than the requisitions, considering that the accused had “not had the intention to kill”.
Absence de Washington
Defense lawyers assured that their client had no control over the events due to his absence from Washington on January 6, 2021, but the judge noted that this conveniently allowed him to “distance himself” from the assault of the Capitol. Enrique Tarrio was then in Baltimore, in the neighboring state of Maryland, due to a court decision ordering him to leave the federal capital.
This injunction was part of the conditions of his release after two days of detention for having burned a “Black Lives Matter” banner belonging to a Washington church mainly attended by African-Americans during a demonstration which had degenerated in December.
“Tarrio’s physical absence in no way mitigates the seriousness of his actions since he was more of a general than a soldier,” the prosecutors argued in their written argument in support of their requisitions.
Son of Cuban immigrants
His lawyer, Nayib Hassan, on the contrary demanded clemency for this 39-year-old son of Cuban immigrants, originally from Florida (southeast), insisting, despite a previous conviction for selling stolen medical equipment, on his cooperation with investigations. federal authorities on drug or human trafficking.
Since January 6, 2021, more than 1,100 people have been arrested and charged. More than half were sentenced, the majority to prison terms.