As the Jan committee hearing begins. 6, Florida plans, Enrique Tarrio takes the lead

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Enrique Tarrio, 38, a resident of Miami and leader of the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, 2021, was among those in the huddle that featured so prominently in the committee’s debut hearing as it laid out its case that the attack to disrupt certification of the 2020 election was premeditated.

As the attack unfolded, Tarrio took credit online. The committee highlighted his quote. “Make no mistake,” he wrote. “We did this.”

Tarrio and other Proud Boys were also shown in videos acknowledging that Trump’s remark about their group at a 2020 presidential debate — that the Proud Boys should “stand back and stand by” — was interpreted by followers as a green light and resulted in a surge in membership.

Among the new revelations from the committee, which will hold half a dozen hearings over the next several weeks, the documentarian revealed that several hundred Proud Boys had a head start making their way to the Capitol before President Donald Trump, speaking near the White House on the Ellipse, told his followers to march there, as Congress was voting to certify his defeat.

Story Highlights

  • So it focused on the story of two rival far-right groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, joining forces in the hours before riot began, their leaders huddled in a Washington garage to coordinate just blocks from the Capitol.

  • The committee called as one of its first witnesses a documentarian who followed the Proud Boys through that fateful day and captured the moment. As he pursued an interview with Tarrio, he learned of the garage rendezvous and filmed the exchange.

Tarrio, who previously had served as Florida state director for a Latinos for Trump group, was not the only Florida figure who featured prominently in the attack that day.

The first, military-style stack to breach the Capitol doors, loyal to the Oath Keepers, was led by Kelly Meggs — “Gator One” –—alongside his wife and a contingent of Floridians who for months had planned and trained for their mission.

Tarrio and Joseph Biggs, 38, from Ormond Beach in Florida, were both indicted just days ago on federal charges of conspiracy “to oppose by force the authority of the government of the United States” due to their roles on Jan. 6. Biggs also featured in the hearing, with a Capitol Police officer injured that day describing him as leading the first charge to breach the security barricades.

Together with indictments from the Justice Department, the committee is presenting new evidence of leadership structures based in Florida organizing for the Capitol riot. Not all leading figures in the Jan. 6 probe hail from Florida, and marchers came from all over the country.

Stewart Rhodes, a Texan and founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, was also indicted earlier this year for attempting to thwart the peaceful transition of power. He was with Tarrio huddling in the garage on Jan. 5. But no state has more residents facing federal charges for their conduct that day than the Sunshine State.