With over two dozen members charged in connection to the deadly violence, the leader of the Proud Boys argued in an Associated Press interview published Wednesday that members of the far-right group are being too harshly punished for the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, which he said has put them “through the wringer.”
Though he deemed the Capitol riots “horrible,” Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio told the AP he believes his group members are being overcharged and politically persecuted.
At least 25 leaders, members and associates of the Proud Boys face charges tied to Jan. 6, with some accused of conspiring to obstruct the certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Tarrio said he put a still ongoing halt on Proud Boys rallies after the insurrection, in part to focus on helping the indicted members.
The group, which claims to have 30,000 members nationwide, has also suffered from splintering since the riots, as several local Proud Boys chapters—including Seattle, Las Vegas, Indiana and Alabama—have since declared independence from the organization.
Tarrio claimed he has been able to patch up differences with those chapters and that the group has not been weakened.