Posted inCivil Liberties

Several Proud Boys convicted of seditious conspiracy in January 6th insurrection

These convictions are more than just a victory for the Department of Justice - they are an encouraging sign for the future of American democracy. For our republic to endure, attempts to overturn a free and fair election by force must be thwarted and their perpetrators held accountable.
Enrique Tarrio and the Proud Boys
Enrique Tarrio and the Proud Boys at a 2020 gathering (Photo: Anthony Crider, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)

Jus­tice has been served to anoth­er group of domes­tic ter­ror­ists:

For­mer Proud Boys chair­man Hen­ry “Enrique” Tar­rio and three oth­er mem­bers of the extrem­ist group were found guilty Thurs­day of sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A jury delib­er­at­ed for sev­en days in Wash­ing­ton before find­ing Tar­rio, 39, and oth­er defen­dants guilty on 31 of 46 counts.

The jury returned not guilty ver­dicts on four counts and con­tin­ued delib­er­at­ing on 11 remain­ing counts. The result was anoth­er deci­sive vic­to­ry for the Jus­tice Depart­ment in the last of three sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy tri­als held after what it called a his­toric act of domes­tic ter­ror­ism to pre­vent the peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er from Don­ald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 pres­i­den­tial election.

These con­vic­tions are more than just a vic­to­ry for the Depart­ment of Jus­tice — they are an encour­ag­ing sign for the future of Amer­i­can democracy.

For our repub­lic to endure, attempts to over­turn a free and fair elec­tion by force must be thwart­ed and their per­pe­tra­tors held accountable.

The Irish ora­tor and attor­ney John Philpot Cur­ran once said: “The con­di­tion upon which God hath giv­en lib­er­ty to man is eter­nal vig­i­lance; which con­di­tion if he break, servi­tude is at once the con­se­quence of his crime and the pun­ish­ment of his guilt.” This state­ment has been abbre­vi­at­ed to some vari­a­tion of eter­nal vig­i­lance is the price of lib­er­ty by a num­ber of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal figures.

It’s still mean­ing­ful today: it’s one of those true and time­less maxims.

We can’t be com­pla­cent about the future of our democ­ra­cy. We can’t take our free­doms for grant­ed. We saw what hap­pened on Jan­u­ary 6th, 2021.

We learned from the sub­se­quent inves­ti­ga­tion con­duct­ed by the House Select Com­mit­tee how close the insur­rec­tion­ist mob incit­ed by Don­ald Trump came to find­ing Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence and oth­er mem­bers of Con­gress after forcibly smash­ing their way into the Capi­tol, our tem­ple of liberty.

While jus­tice has been served to many of Trump’s under­lings since that trag­ic and fright­en­ing day, Trump him­self has yet to be held accountable.

Mitch McConnell and Sen­ate Repub­li­cans unfor­giv­ably made sure that Trump was acquit­ted two years ago for his crimes — leav­ing Trump free to run for Pres­i­dent again, which he is doing right now. Spe­cial Coun­sel Jack Smith is inves­ti­gat­ing Trump’s con­duct, but has not yet brought any charges.

Legal experts told The Post they believe today’s con­vic­tions will be helpful:

“The ver­dict empow­ers the spe­cial coun­sel to bring indict­ments for the efforts to over­turn the elec­tion,” said New York Uni­ver­si­ty law pro­fes­sor Ryan Good­man. “It under­scores the enor­mous stakes in mobi­liz­ing Amer­i­cans to believe the Big Lie and direct­ing an armed crowd to inter­fere with the con­gres­sion­al proceedings.”

The con­vic­tions mark “an impor­tant mile­stone on the jour­ney to account­abil­i­ty for the per­pe­tra­tors of the insur­rec­tion on Jan­u­ary 6, 2021 … show­ing that polit­i­cal vio­lence and attacks on our demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions will be tak­en seri­ous­ly by our jus­tice sys­tem and will not be tol­er­at­ed by the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” said Lind­say Schu­bin­er, direc­tor of pro­grams at West­ern States Cen­ter, a Port­land-based civ­il rights group that mon­i­tors anti-democ­ra­cy move­ments nationwide.

Let’s hope they’re right. Grave threats remain to our democracy.

Extrem­ism has flour­ished in Amer­i­ca in recent years, aid­ed and abet­ted by social net­work­ing plat­forms with algo­rithms that help con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and dis­in­for­ma­tion spread like wild­fire. One of our two major polit­i­cal par­ties is no longer com­mit­ted to repub­li­can­ism, despite hav­ing the name Repub­li­can. We remain in dan­ger­ous waters, and we have a ways to go before we’re out of them.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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