Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

- Advertisement -

USA: Proud Boys leader learned of imminent arrest by DC police officer


The leader of a far-right group learned days in advance that he would be arrested for his actions following a pro-Trump rally through his conversations with a DC police lieutenant, according to testimony in federal court Wednesday.

Enrique Tarrio was arrested on January 4, 2021 for his part in the burning of a Black Lives Matter flag stolen weeks earlier from a historic African-American church. The evidence played in court during the trial of Tarrio and four other Proud Boys leaders charged with seditious conspiracy show that the far-right figure appeared to be fully aware of what was to come, thanks to his “source” at the DC Police Department.

Tarrio has argued that Shane Lamond, a 22-year veteran of the D.C. Police, is a star witness who was able to prove there was no Proud Boys conspiracy to overthrow the government because the group shared its plans with a law enforcement official. But the messages shown in court Wednesday reveal just how much the then-intelligence chief of the D.C. Police shared with Tarrio in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Lamond was suspended from pay by the D.C. Police Department a year ago and his dealings with Tarrio are under federal investigation; he has not been charged with a crime. In a statement Wednesday, Lamond’s attorney, Mark E. Schamel, said his client did nothing to help the Jan. 6 rioters and “only communicated with these individuals because the mission required it.”

He added that Lamond “played a significant role” in Tarrio’s arrest and “there is no legitimate law enforcement officer familiar with the facts of this case who would think otherwise.”

On the evening of December 30, 2020, Lamond and Tarrio had a nearly 15-minute phone conversation, during which Tarrio sent a bulletin to Proud Boys leaders calling for an “Emergency voice chat”.

Tarrio made it harder for investigators to follow the conversation by having his messages from around that time automatically deleted, FBI Special Agent Peter Dubrowski testified, but responses from other Proud Boys show that Tarrio had shared with them that he would soon be arrested .

On January 4, 2021, while flying to D.C. from Miami, Tarrio told other Proud Boys, “The order has just been signed.” He was pulled over and arrested as he entered the city from the airport.

According to the police report, Lamond had already given Tarrio inside information for at least six months at that point. The DC police declined to comment on the court’s testimony on Wednesday, citing the ongoing investigation.

On November 7, 2020, when news networks declared that Joe Biden had won the 2020 election against Donald Trump, Lamond tipped off the right-wing social media site Parler.

“Warnings are being sent to law enforcement that Parler reports from your people talk about mobilizing and taking back the country and getting people going,” Lamond wrote.

Later that day, Lamond added, “I’m just giving you a heads up. Let’s keep this between you and me.” Lamond said he and Tarrio needed to talk about an encrypted application.

Prosecutors have used Parler messages to support their case that the Proud Boys mobilized for violence on January 6 — most notably one in which Tarrio described co-defendant Dominic Pezzola as one of the “Lords of War.” The following week, Pezzola was at the Capitol in front of the crowd and was filmed using a police riot shield to smash a window in the building.

A week after Lamond’s warning, when members of the Proud Boys gathered for a pro-Trump rally, Lamond warned that the group’s favorite hangout — a bar called Harry’s — was under threat of closure by the city. according to Dubrowski. That night, Proud Boys were involved in violent clashes in downtown DC. Lamond at one point warned Tarrio, “We just locked up one of your guys on 14th and K.” He added, “We have let go of your man. Victim could not be found.”

The following month, after another Trump rally, four members of the Proud Boys were stabbed, while others stole and defaced Black Lives Matter banners hanging outside African-American churches. (Tarrio later pleaded to burning the banner and to attempted possession of a high-capacity ammunition magazine. He was sentenced to five months in prison.) Lamond told Tarrio that a suspect in the stabbing had been arrested, but also that Tarrio himself was in criminal investigation, according to court evidence.

“Hey brother, did you send an anonymous tip to the FBI claiming responsibility for burning the banner?” Lamond asked on December 18, four days after the incident.

“I did more than that. It’s on my social media,” Tarrio replied.

Lamond offered to contact the detectives “to see if they have you on video”. He then went on to warn that the FBI and U.S. Secret Service were “all excited” over a comment Tarrio made on a show on Infowars that Proud Boys would disguise themselves as Joe Biden supporters in the future. “I got an email first thing this morning,” Lamond said, with a shocked face emoji.

Tarrio then contacted Lamond to ask if the banner burning was under investigation as a federal hate crime, subject to higher possible penalties. Lamond told him the case was being handled by the police, not the FBI, and that he told investigators that the Proud Boys were not racist, according to the records read in court.

Tarrio then appeared to relay the news to a Proud Boys leadership group.

“We got the jump in the story before burning the banner. This should make it nearly impossible for them to use the hate crime enhancement… according to my contact at DC Metro,” Tarrio wrote in a text.

Shortly after noon on Christmas Day, Lamond shared that he believed an arrest was imminent because he had been asked to identify Tarrio in a photo of Parler.

“So they can file an arrest warrant” with prosecutors, Lamond said in a text message to Tarrio.

Tarrio’s lawyers were the first to introduce conversations between Lamond and Tarrio, arguing that the correspondence indicates that the Proud Boys were cooperating with the police and had nothing to hide. They had tried to put Lamond on the witness stand, but said the lieutenant had invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in court.

But Judge Timothy J. Kelly said in court Wednesday that the conversations revealed a “proximity” and “improperness” that undermined Tarrio’s defense. Under questioning, Dubrowski testified that it was not typical for law enforcement officers to share information about investigations, charges, and arrests with sources.

“I’ve never heard of it,” Dubrowski said.

Upon direct investigation, attorney Sabino Jauregui presented the relationship with Lamond as evidence that Tarrio was an asset and ally of the police force. In December 2020, Lamond asked Tarrio for help figuring out where Alex Jones planned to speak next, as D.C. police had heard “conflicting locations.” Jauregui said Tarrio responded with help and Lamond also identified a woman who engaged in violence on Jan. 6.

“Enrique Tarrio worked with law enforcement,” said Jauregui.

Jauregui suggested that the FBI knew or should have known about these interactions before Jan. 6. Dubrowski responded that he had “no reason to believe that Shane Lamond was coordinating with the FBI.”

Jauregui also accused prosecutors of dragging the name of a highly decorated officer “through the mud”. He said it was clear from conversations not shown in court that Lamond was sharing valuable information about the Proud Boys with his department, some of which was forwarded to the US Capitol Police.

It is not uncommon for authorities to negotiate surrender with criminal suspects charged on a warrant basis, although these cases are typically coordinated by police, prosecutors and lawyers. Tarrio has said he was arrested at gunpoint at a traffic stop as he drove into DC

Tarrio was released the next day pending trial, but was barred from the precinct, preventing him from leaving the nation’s capital on January 6.

He has previously hinted that he knew he would be arrested, including during a videotaped meeting with the founder of the extremist group Oath Keepers. It wasn’t clear until Wednesday how Tarrio explicitly learned about the arrest.

Released videos show Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio meeting with Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes the day before the attack on the Capitol. (Video: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia)

Before his suspension, Lamond led the D.C. Police Department’s intelligence unit. In addition to Tarrio, he corresponded with an anti-racism activist posing as the leader of a neo-Nazi group.

Law enforcement agencies typically interact with members of extremist groups, sometimes going undercover to learn about violent or subversive plots, as well as openly planning demonstrations. Sometimes such interactions can appear friendly. But police experts have said that all contacts with such groups should be closely monitored and documented, and that police should not disclose information about internal policies or operations.

“At no time did Lt. Lamond aid or support the hateful and divisive agenda of any of the various groups that came to D.C. to protest,” Schamel said in his statement. “Lamond’s conduct was appropriate and always aimed at protecting the citizens of Washington, DC”

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.