The US Department of Justice indicted two Proud Boys members Friday for conspiring to obstruct law enforcement and other charges for their acts connected to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.
Proud Boys is a far-right nationalist organization, self-described as “Western Chauvinists.” The two members indicted on Friday were Dominic Pezzola and William Pepe. Pezzola and Pepe are associated with the Proud Boys because they each allegedly own tactical vests with the Proud Boys logo and have previously been present at Proud Boys gatherings and protests.
The conspiracy charge against Pezzola and Pepe is the first riot-related indictment alleging that Proud Boys members worked together in the insurrection at the Capitol. Pezzola and Pepe allegedly removed metal barricades in front of the Capitol, which were intended to control access to the Capitol. In addition to conspiracy to obstruct law enforcement, Pezzola and Pepe are also charged with “civil disorder; unlawfully entering restricted buildings or grounds; and disorderly and disruptive conduct in restricted buildings or grounds.”
Pezzola allegedly ripped away a riot shield from a Capitol Police officer and used it to break a window on the Capitol building. Pro-Trump rioters proceeded to enter the building through the broken window. Regarding this act, Pezzola is also charged with “obstructing an official proceeding; additional counts of civil disorder and aiding and abetting civil disorder; robbery of personal property of the United States; assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers; destruction of government property; and engaging in physical violence in a restricted buildings or grounds.”
The US Attorney’s Office for the District Court of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting this case. The FBI is investigating the case. Pezzola and Pepe will need to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.