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Capitol Riot Investigation Scrutinizes Role of Proud Boys

Investigators involved in the Capitol attack have also focused their attention on the chairman of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio. Mr. Tarrio, who lives in Miami, was scheduled to attend the march in Washington but was thrown out of the city by a judge the day before it happened. When he was arrested on Jan. 4 in connection with the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner that had been torn from a historic Black church during a different round of violent protests last month, police officers found he was carrying two high-capacity rifle magazines emblazoned with the Proud Boys’ chicken logo.

Prosecutors have noted in documents attached to Mr. Biggs’s case that Mr. Tarrio first began encouraging the Proud Boys to go to Washington for the “Stop the Steal” march in late December, when he posted a message on the social media app Parler announcing that members of the group would “turn out in record numbers.”

In the run-up to the rally, Mr. Tarrio also used Parler to urge his members to avoid wearing their traditional black-and-yellow polo shirts but instead to go “incognito” and move about the city in “smaller teams,” prosecutors say.

In an interview with The New York Times one week after the siege, Mr. Tarrio, who took over the Proud Boys from its founder Gavin McInnes, said that the attack on the Capitol was misguided and that anyone who broke windows or took part in the nearly 140 assaults on police officers should be prosecuted.

He tried to minimize the role that the Proud Boys played in the attack — even though, among the 150 people charged so far, prosecutors have brought charges against Nicholas Ochs, the leader of the group’s Hawaii chapter, and Nicholas DeCarlo, one of its top media figures. Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boy from Rochester, N.Y., was in the first wave of rioters to breach the Capitol, prosecutors say, and stands accused of shattering a window with a plastic police riot shield.

“Obviously, they didn’t help our cause,” Mr. Tarrio said.

Investigators are continuing to sift through online posts and messages by Mr. Tarrio and Mr. Biggs in an effort to determine if they showed any attempt at coordination or planning, the federal law enforcement official said.

On the day of the attack, Mr. Tarrio took to Parler, calling members of the Proud Boys who took part in it “revolutionaries” and urging them not to leave. “For now, I’m enjoying the show,” he wrote, adding, “Do what must be done.”

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