Criminal Justice

Proud Boy Enrique Tarrio Denied Release: Is He Safer in Jail?

A judge denied Enrique Tarrio's motion for compassionate release Friday.
A judge denied Enrique Tarrio's motion for compassionate release Friday. Enrique Tarrio via Facebook
Despite graphic testimony this past Monday in which he described "horrendous" conditions inside a Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections (DOC) facility that include frequent flooding and feces in his cell and harassment by guards, Enrique "Henry" Tarrio is not coming home any time soon.

Late Friday night, Judge Jonathan H. Pittman denied Tarrio’s motion for compassionate release from the D.C. Central Detention Facility. The former leader of the far-right Proud Boys will serve the remainder of the 155-day sentence behind bars, until mid-January. Though Tarrio described "gulag"-like conditions on the inside, Proud Boys from South Florida have turned against the former chairman and have threatened him should he return to Miami.

Pittman's ruling may wind up protecting Tarrio. It came hours after a jury acquitted Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooter Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges Friday afternoon, a seeming victory for the far-right.

"Enrique Tarrio planned January 6 why do you think he got taken out the day before and was saying what to do from the sidelines," reads a November 13 anonymous message in the Vice City Proud Boys Telegram chat. "He is now at it again and filed a motion for early release to snitch on more people don't know what his hurry is to get out he is safer in that fucking rat cage than coming back to Miami."

The thinly veiled threat comes from the Vice City chapter of the Proud Boys, which Tarrio once led. Though the Miami-born Proud Boy founded the Vice City chapter, which encompassed Miami-Dade County, he split off from the group after internal disputes and formed a new Miami chapter: Villain City.
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Members of the Vice City Proud Boys denounce Enrique Tarrio after a Reuters report that he informed for federal law enforcement in 2012.
Screenshot via Telegram
Those who remained in the Vice City faction, including Gabriel Garcia and Gilbert Fonticoba, are virulently anti-Tarrio and post frequently on their public Telegram chat about how the former chairman is a "rat." Such attacks began after Reuters reported in January that Tarrio cooperated with federal law enforcement in 2012 when he was indicted for selling stolen and mislabeled diabetic test kits.

Garcia and Fonticoba were both indicted for their participation in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and await trial in 2022. According to court documents filed by the FBI, Garcia filmed himself entering the Capitol with other rioters, saying loudly, "Nancy [Pelosi], come out and play," and calling Capitol Police officers who tried to hold back the crowds "fucking traitors."

When they aren't threatening armed violence, the Vice City Proud Boys post edited photos and memes about Tarrio being in bed with President Biden, another target of their ire.
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Vice City Proud Boys memes give new meaning to the phrase "fuck Joe Biden."
Screenshot via Telegram
A former Vice City Proud Boy who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation tells New Times that the men who make up the chapter today are "thugs" and "clout chasers" who used the Reuters report to gain influence.

"We knew about Enrique being an informant for years, but Vice City only gave a crap when everyone else did because they're clout chasers," he says.

The former Proud Boy claims that while the organization was supposed to be a men's drinking club — a common refrain from Tarrio as well as from Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, despite the group's frequent presence at political rallies and protests — the Vice City chapter has become a violent, maverick group that inserts itself into the political fray at every opportunity.

"They were going out on Miami Beach hunting for anyone that stayed with Enrique. People don't feel safe because these guys are fucking thugs and villains."

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Though the wider Proud Boys organization disavowed Vice City and the chapter is not included in an official list of Proud Boys cells in Florida, the group operates under the Proud Boys name and claims to enforce its rules and bylaws. The former Proud Boy who asked New Times to withhold his name says Garcia, Fonticoba, and their brethren violate club rules while claiming to be the arbiters of them and attack anyone they see as against their worldview.

"If they don't like what they say and if you don't think like they do, they will come after you physically and violently," he says. "They were going out on Miami Beach hunting for anyone that stayed with Enrique. People don't feel safe because these guys are fucking thugs and villains."

Tarrio's family members tell New Times they don't fear the threats from the Vice City Proud Boys and anxiously await his return home.
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Joshua Ceballos is staff writer for Miami New Times. He is a Florida International University alum and a born-and-bred Miami boy.
Contact: Joshua Ceballos

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