A federal grand jury indicted five members of the Proud Boys on Monday on charges of seditious conspiracy for plotting to storm the U.S. Capitol and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
That development is of particular relevance to Portland, because several of the indicted men were the architects of regular visits to Portland that resulted in hand-to-hand combat with anti-fascists in the streets.
Among those indicted today was Enrique Tarrio, the onetime chairman of the Proud Boys. Tarrio, who lives in Miami, organized multiple Portland events in support of then-President Donald Trump. The purpose of those events was consistent: to draw national pressure on Mayor Ted Wheeler to jail anti-fascist activists, in part by provoking violence.
“Sooner or later, [Wheeler] will run out of money and his counterparts in government will no longer take him seriously,” Tarrio said during a 2019 visit that paralyzed the city’s downtown for an afternoon. “The path forward for Mayor Wheeler is simple, free your city from the grip of Antifa, take direct and meaningful action.”
Also indicted for sedition: Joe Biggs, who ran that 2019 event, and Ethan Nordean, who a summer prior became a national social media celebrity under the name “Rufio Panman” for felling a leftist with a punch to the face.
Today’s amended indictment, reported by The New York Times, elevates the case against the five Proud Boys, who had already been indicted on charges of conspiring to obstruct the certification of the election. Now they stand accused of plotting to overthrow the government.
In February, after the initial indictments, WW reporter Tess Riski examined the ways in which right-wing groups used Portland events as a live practice for military actions they would later perform on Capitol Hill.