Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio threatens DC Jail upon release

On the 14th of January, Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio was released from DC Jail. Reuters published a photo showing him in a T-shirt saying "Free the Proud Boys by any means necessary" and showing a man with a rifle.

That particular T-shirt is an insult to the man shown with a rifle, who is Black. Armed African-Americans fought against the Ku Klux Klan during the Civil Rights era. It it also an insult to the originators of the slogan "by any means necessary," widely popularized by Malcolm X. For this to be on a Proud Boy or combined with a call for freeing the Proud Boys is beyond outrageous. That context combined with the rifle and the nature of the case also makes it a threat, though probably not one that can be prosecuted.

Enrique Tarrio is not a random person being released from jail. He is the chairman of the Proud Boys. This is one of the two most violent groups involved in the Jan 6 2021 storming of the US Capitol. The Proud Boys also were involved in numerous beatings and even stabbing incidents on the night of Nov 14, 2020 and again in numerous assaults of random bystanders on Dec 12, 2020. It was for burning a stolen Black Lives Matter banner taken from a church that Tarrio was arrested in the runup to the Jan 6 Capitol assault. In the process of that arrest he was found in posession of two "high capacity magazines" for a firearm but curiously not of the weapon meant to use those magazines. Under DC's rather extreme gun laws that netted an additional charge.

In other words, the chairman of a paramilitary terrorist group with a history of violence just called for freeing all other prisoners from his organization while wearing a T-shirt showing a man with a firearm. This has the potential to be treated as an order by others in the Proud Boys. While it is highly unlikely that the Proud Boys could take the DC Jail, that was also thought of the US Capitol a year ago. If they succeeded in such an attack, it is almost certain that only the other J6 defendents would be beneficiaries of the raid. Black and Brown people held in DC Jail not only would not be freed by the Proud Boys, they would be in serious danger of being assaulted or even murdered for the color of their skin. Again, using a photo of an armed Black freedom fighter to threaten the DC Jail with being stormed by a Proud Boys white supremacist lynch mob is beyond outrageous.

The fact that Enrique Tarrio did not pose with a rifle in his own hands nor with armed riflemen behind him probably makes this threat legal for him to make. The Supreme Court has held that a threat must be "imminent" to rise to the level of a crime. Without armed terrorists on hand or in the photo nor in videos captured by others, this threat would probably be deemed to fail the imminence test for prosecution. There is a very good chance this is a bluff or a tantrum thrown by one of J6's losers. Same photo shoot while his militia advanced on the jail would be another matter. Of course, if Enrique Tarrio is on any kind of probation, parole, or supervised release, for him to appear in a T-shirt combining demands with firearms may be a violation of that.

In a hilarious sidenote to all this, both the Reuters photo and Ford Fischer's video show Enrique Tarrio's fly was open as he left the jail in that threatening T-shirt. Also Ford asked him if he was worried about being "next" after 3%er militia founder Stewart Rhodes was arrested and held on a "seditious conspiracy" charge. Tarrio claimed not to be worried, but that is the sound of the DC Jail calling back to him for more time. That HAS to be at the back of his mind after being asked such a thing. Of course, the legal precedent set by a conviction of anyone for "seditious conspiracy" for any offense related to domestic political opposition of any kind could prove catastrophic. The government could use fascists and neo-Nazis as the thin end of the wedge, establish that this is a charge now being used. Once they set that precedent they can then deploy it against pipeline protesters, protesters against any future Trump inauguration, and any other opponents of the government of the day. The chessboard is level.

The Reuters photo showing Tarrio's T-shirt saying "free the Proud Boys by any means necessary" and showing a firearm. Note that Tarrio's fly is open while he bluffs and blusters

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