Proud Boys leader asks for early release over jail conditions

The leader of the Proud Boys far-right group has asked a judge to free him from jail in Washington DC, complaining about poor conditions.

Henry “Enrique” Tarrio is serving a five-month sentence for stealing and burning a Black Lives Matter banner from a historic Black church in the capital, after Donald Trump’s election defeat.

El lunes, Tarrio asked a judge to release him, arguing that he has been exposed to inhumane conditions.

Asking that his sentence be reduced or that he be allowed to complete it under house arrest, he claimed to have been harassed by correctional officers and said his cell regularly floods with dirty water from a toilet in a neighboring cell.

“I’ve been to jail before and what I’ve seen here, I’ve never seen anywhere else,” Tarrio dicho in a video testimony.

“This place needs to be shut down immediately,"Añadió.

Tarrio described abusive guards, smoke-filled hallways and medical neglect, saying he witnessed a prisoner have a seizure who lay for a half hour before help arrived.

“I’m deathly afraid that something is going to happen to me,” Tarrio said.

According to his attorney, Tarrio has endured “serious abuses of his rights on a daily basis”, including jail employees repeatedly ignoring his requests for medical treatment, throwing cold, often inedible meals into his cell and denying access to running water.

“Mr Tarrio has been intimidated and antagonized by correctional staff to dissuade him from making complaints about the horrendous conditions,” Tarrio’s attorney, Luca Dansie, escribió.

Approximately three dozen Proud Boys members and associates have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot, in which Trump supporters sought to overturn his election defeat. Some have been charged with conspiring to carry out a coordinated attack to stop Congress certifying Joe Biden’s victory.

Tarrio was not present at the Capitol on 6 January and has not been charged in connection to the riot. But he was arrested on 4 enero, on his way to DC. Police pulled him over on a warrant for vandalizing the Black Lives Matter sign, which was stolen from the Asbury United Methodist church the previous month.

Officers also found Tarrio to be carrying two unloaded magazines emblazoned with the Proud Boys logo, which he said he sells.

Tarrio pleaded guilty in August to destruction of property and attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device.

His complaints about jail conditions mirror those of several prisoners charged in the Capitol attack. En octubre, a federal judge held the DC corrections director and jail warden in contempt of court and asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether inmates’ civil rights were being abused.

La semana pasada, the District and the US marshals service struck a deal to improve conditions at the city’s main jail.

DC superior court judge Jonathan Pittman said on Monday he would rule by the end of the week on whether he will reduce Tarrio’s sentence to 90 dias. Pittman also took the jail’s damaged reputation as proof that Tarrio was not being singled out.

“It’s obviously distressing to hear of these conditions,” Pittman said. “I come back to the same question: how is Mr Tarrio’s condition any different than any other inmate at the jail?"

Associated Press contributed to this report




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