Judge Denies Proud Boys Leader Early Release From D.C. Jail

Judge Denies Proud Boys Leader Early Release From D.C. Jail Enrique Tarrio smokes a cigarette during the Million Maga March on November 14, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Henry "Enrique" Tarrio (Chris Tuite/AP)

By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 23 November 2021 12:58 PM

A request that Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio be released early from jail has been denied, The Washington Post reported.

Tarrio, 37, had requested early release due to the unsanitary conditions and mistreatment at the D.C. Department of Corrections facility where he is being held.

Although D.C. Superior Court Judge Jonathan H. Pittman said he largely believed Tarrio's allegations, the judge ruled arguments for being let out of jail and transferred to home confinement fell short, the Post reported.

Pittman, in a written ruling late Friday night, noted the DOC "admits that much of what the defendant has claimed did in fact occur."

Tarrio made his allegations at a Nov. 15 hearing. He and his attorney said there had been abuse by jail staff members, unhealthy living conditions, poor food, and a lack of medical care, the Post said.

A surprise inspection of the facility last month by the U.S. Marshals Service aligned with Tarrio's accusations. The inspection found "systemic failures" at the 45-year-old jail in Southeast Washington.

Tarrio claimed his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishments had been violated at the jail. He sought to be transferred to home confinement.

Pittman, though, said an Eighth Amendment claim would need to be litigated in a lawsuit, with evidence and testimony.

The judge added, if Tarrio prevailed in such a lawsuit, the "appropriate remedy for unconstitutional conditions of confinement is correction of the unconstitutional conditions of confinement, which are experienced by all inmates, not just the defendant."

Tarrio also filed two other arguments for release. They were:

  • Under a Superior Court rule that allows a judge to reduce a sentence after it has been imposed. Pittman said the rule did not apply to sentences are under appeal, as Tarrio's is.
  • Under the District's "compassionate release" statute. Pittman judge said Tarrio "fails to establish that his case presents 'extraordinary and compelling reasons' warranting a modification."

Tarrio has served nearly half of a five-month term for two crimes, including setting fire to a stolen Black Lives Matter banner during a demonstration in Washington after November's presidential election.

Proud Boys members had stolen the banner from a historic Black church in the city, authorities said.

The Marshals Service and the D.C. government signed a legal document Nov. 9 in which they agreed to work together to improve conditions at the jail, the Post said.