Jun 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Majority of Proud Boys indicted for sedition were U.S. military veterans

Trump supporters take over the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump supporters take over the steps of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The majority of Proud Boys members indicted for sedition for violence during the Jan. 6 attack were U.S. military veterans, Military.com reports.

Driving the news: Four out of five members of the Proud Boys right-wing extremist group who were indicted on sedition charges previously served in the military.

  • The indicted members include an Army veteran with a Purple Heart, two marines and a sailor recruit.

Catch up quick: The charges against the Proud Boys allege the group's members were among hundreds of Trump supporters who gathered to riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

  • The Proud Boys members "directed, mobilized and led members of the crowd onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol," the Department of Justice said in a statement.
  • The group also worked to dismantle barricades, destroy property, breach the Capitol building and assault law enforcement officers, the DOJ said.

Details: Four of the Proud Boys members charged Monday had military experience across the spectrum. Military.com highlighted their military careers:

  • Ethan Nordean, who reportedly helped gather supplies and money for the Jan. 6 attack, served about one month as a sailor recruit.
  • Joseph Biggs, who was reportedly one of the first people to break past the barricades at the Capitol, spent 12 years in the Army, according to Military.com. He earned a Purple Heart after two combat deployments.
  • Zachary Rehl, who allegedly managed the group's radios on Jan. 6, served in the Marines as a logistics specialist for four years. He never deployed before being discharged in 2012.
  • Dominic Pezzola, who is accused of breaking the first window of the Capitol after allegedly stealing a riot shield, served seven years in the reserves as an infantryman.

Yes, but: Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, the leader of the group who was indicted on sedition charges, was the only non-veteran of the group, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez writes.

The bottom line: "What we saw in the lead-up to Jan. 6 was that [veterans] were the ones making the decisions about how the group was going to behave, how it was going to organize on Jan. 6," Michael Jensen, a researcher at the University of Maryland who studies extremism, told Military.com.

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