The conviction of Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys, for seditious conspiracy advances the cause of justice for the Jan. 6 insurrection. However, as the mall shooting in Texas makes clear, the threat posed by domestic extremists continues.
On Thursday, May 4, a jury in Washington, D.C., found Tarrio and two other others guilty of seditious conspiracy for planning the attack on the U.S. Capitol. They acquitted a fourth defendant but found him guilty of other crimes related to Jan. 6.
The seditious conspiracy statute, which dates to the Civil War era, makes it a federal crime for two or more people to “conspire to overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States.”
Using text messages and other evidence, the prosecution proved that although not present in Washington on Jan. 6, Tarrio and his co-conspirators “directed, mobilized and led members of the crowd onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol.”
Founded in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” who embrace what they see as traditional values. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies them as a “general hate group” that embraces “a broad range of bigotries, including misogyny, antisemitism and anti-Black, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views.”
While national figures for 2022 have yet to be released, a Voice of America report found that hate crimes increased significantly in six major cities.
Republican politicians have fueled extremism through a combination of denial and reinvention. In the aftermath of the attack on the capital, approximately half of Republicans blamed Antifa for the violence.
In February 2022, the Republican Party officially declared the insurrection “legitimate political discourse.”