Enrique Tarrio, former chairman of the militant far-right group Proud Boys, was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Tuesday after previously being convicted of seditious conspiracy in the January 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol.
The sentence was passed down by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly, following an extensive hearing that included final statements from prosecutors and pleas for leniency from Tarrio’s family. The 22-year sentence was notably less than the 33 years sought by the government, but still longer than prison terms given to Tarrio’s co-conspirators from his seditious conspiracy trial. Tarrio’s sentence is also the harshest given to any defendant in the Capitol riot.
Tarrio served in his leadership position with the Proud Boys from 2018 to 2021, seeing the group through a period of time in which, amid the tenure of former President Donald Trump, it rose to greater national prominence. Numerous members of the group were eventually arrested, accused of participating in the Capitol riot, which triggered strife among its ranks. Revelations that Tarrio had acted as an informant for law enforcement in 2012 and 2014 caused further divides in the group. He later stepped down as national chairman of the Proud Boys, but claimed that these divisions were not the reason.
Tarrio was not present in Washington, D.C., on the day of the Capitol riot, having been arrested only days prior in connection with a previous incident, and released from jail on the condition that he not enter the district. As the attack unfolded, Tarrio was holed up in a Baltimore, Maryland, hotel room, though prosecutors argued in court that his absence from the siege did “nothing to detract from the severity of his conduct” in orchestrating the Proud Boys’ involvement in the event, calling him “a general rather than a soldier,” a sentiment with which Judge Kelly later concurred.
As Tarrio’s sentence approached, several similarly MAGA-aligned users took to X, formerly Twitter, to express outrage, typified by a post from user Matt Wallace denouncing Tarrio’s expected sentence as compared to those for other major crimes, inaccurately characterizing the Capitol riot as a simple protest.
“TODAY, THE AMERICAN ‘JUSTICE’ SYSTEM IS DYING AS WE KNOW IT,” the user wrote. “Enrique Tarrio Did Not Rape Children. He Did Not Rob A Store. He Did Not Attack An Officer. ALL OF THOSE THINGS GET MUCH LOWER SENTENCES!”
“Enrique Tarrio wasn’t even at the Capitol building on J6. This is ridiculous!” a user going by “Foxy’s Crime Scenes” wrote. “The US has gone full Marxist.”
“Enrique Tarrio wasn’t even in DC. He was arrested the day before for (allegedly) burning a BLM banner in Dec 2020,” user Julie Kelly wrote. “Biden’s DOJ wants these men to rot in prison—4 of them already have been held behind bars denied release under pretrial detention for 2 1/2 years.”
Speaking on a broadcast for Human Events, MAGA commentators Jack Posobiec and Darren J. Beattie bemoaned the treatment of “patriots and dissidents” and called Tarrio’s sentencing “the final wave to suppress” Trump’s “movement.”
The government had been seeking a 33-year prison term for Tarrio, who was among the four members of the Proud Boys to receive the rare conviction for seditious conspiracy. Harry Littman, legal affairs columnist for the Los Angeles Times, noted that Judge Kelly had given Tarrio’s co-conspirators shorter sentences than sought by the government. He still expected Tarrio to receive the harshest sentence of them all, which he ultimately did.
Last week, Tarrio’s co-conspirators were handed down sentences, with Joe Biggs getting up to 17 years in prison; 15 years for Zachary Rehl; and 18 years for Ethan Nordean. Another Proud Boy, Dominic Pezzola, had been part of the same seditious conspiracy trial, but was not guilty of the charge and was ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison for other crimes.