Proud Boys may have deliberately planned the Capitol siege as revenge against law enforcement, FBI says

Stanton Sharpe/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesA member of the Proud Boys at a rally at Delta Park in Portland, Oregon, on June 26.
  • The Proud Boys may have planned the Capitol siege as revenge on law enforcement, the FBI said.
  • Officials said some members charged in the riot, including Ethan Nordean, had prepared for violence.
  • They were angry at the police response to the stabbing of a member at a December rally, the FBI said.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Investigators are looking into whether members of the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys planned elements of the Capitol siege to get revenge on members of law enforcement, the FBI said in a newly released affidavit.

In court filings, first reported by The Washington Post, in the case of Ethan Nordean, a Proud Boys leader in Seattle, FBI agents said that some members, including Nordean, had prepared for violence.

The affidavit said that some of them might have come to the Capitol seeking to retaliate against law enforcement over the response to the stabbing of a member on December 12 in Washington, DC, at a protest of the Electoral College vote.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged Nordean, who has also gone by the name Rufio Panman, with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, knowingly entering or remaining in restricted building or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

The Department of Justice said that in late December, Nordean “posted a message asking for donations of ‘protective gear’ and ‘communications equipment.'” It said he posted a video on January 4, two days before the insurrection, with the caption “Let them remember the day they decided to make war with us.”

The Post reported that in livestreamed footage just before the attack, Nordean could be seen yelling at the police, “You took our boy in, and you let our stabber go.” The report said it appeared Nordean was referring to the arrest of Enrique Tarrio, another Proud Boys leader, on charges of property destruction.

The Proud Boys is a far-right group whose members — mostly men — espouse bigotry and misogyny. Canada’s government this week classified the Proud Boys as a terrorist organisation.

Since the Capitol siege, authorities have charged dozens of people with offences including entering and remaining in a restricted building illegally; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and, in some cases, theft of US government property.

Investigators are refocusing their wide-ranging inquiries on whether the violence was coordinated, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. That could lead to more-complex conspiracy and sedition charges, the report said.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that prosecutors at the Department of Justice were also considering whether to pursue charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act, or RICO, a law originally designed to prosecute Mafia members and organised-crime rings.

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