WASHINGTON (AP) — Complaining about jail circumstances, a prime chief of the Proud Boys far-right extremist group requested a choose on Monday to free him earlier than he finishes serving a five-month sentence for burning a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historic Black church in Washington, D.C.
D.C. Superior Court docket Decide Jonathan Pittman mentioned Monday he would rule by the tip of the week on whether or not to cut back Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio’s sentence to 90 days. However the choose struck a persistently skeptical tone that left Tarrio, testifying by video from jail, visibly slumped in frustration.
Tarrio requested that his sentence be decreased or that he be allowed to complete it below home arrest as a result of he claims he has been harassed by correctional officers and uncovered to inhumane jail circumstances. He mentioned his cell has recurrently flooded with soiled rest room water from a neighboring cell.
“I’ve been to jail earlier than and what I’ve seen right here, I’ve by no means seen wherever else,” Tarrio mentioned, sporting an orange jumpsuit and a masks over his face. “This place must be shut down instantly.”
He detailed abusive guards, continuously flooded cells, smoke-filled hallways and medical neglect, saying he witnessed a prisoner have a seizure who lay there for a half hour earlier than any assist arrived.
His voice cracking, Tarrio mentioned, “I’m deathly afraid that one thing goes to occur to me.”
The D.C. Division of Corrections didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. However attorneys for the federal government acknowledged some issues with the jail circumstances, saying they had been being addressed. The flooding, they mentioned, got here from a prisoner in a neighboring cell who recurrently flooded his personal rest room in protest, and mentioned Tarrio had since been moved to a different cell. They denied Tarrio had been mistreated, singled out or denied his rights in any method.
Tarrio’s complaints about jail circumstances in Washington mirror these of a number of prisoners charged within the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol. Situations on the D.C. central jail have lengthy been a degree of criticism for native activists. The difficulty has tackle a nationwide political dimension in latest months due to the Jan. 6 defendants.
In October, a federal choose held the District of Columbia’s corrections director and jail warden in contempt of court and requested the Justice Division to analyze whether or not inmates’ civil rights had been being abused. The District and the U.S. Marshals Service struck a deal final week to enhance circumstances on the jail.
Decide Pittman on Monday took the jail’s broken popularity as proof that Tarrio wasn’t being singled out for mistreatment.
“It’s clearly distressing to listen to of those circumstances,” he mentioned. “I come again to the identical query: How is Mr. Tarrio’s situation any totally different than some other inmate on the jail?”
Tarrio claims he has endured “severe abuses of his rights on a dally foundation” whereas being held in a segregation unit. Jail staff have ignored his requests for medical remedy, thrown chilly, typically inedible meals into his cell and denied him entry to operating water in his cell, he mentioned.
“Mr. Tarrio has been intimidated and antagonized by correctional workers to dissuade him from making complaints concerning the horrendous circumstances,” wrote Tarrio’s legal professional, Lucas Dansie.
Roughly three dozen Proud Boys leaders, members and associates have been charged within the Capitol riot. A few of them are charged with conspiring to hold out a coordinated assault on the Capitol to cease Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Tarrio wasn’t on the Capitol on Jan. 6 and hasn’t been charged in reference to the riot. He was arrested in Washington on a warrant two days earlier than the siege and ordered to remain out of the nation’s capital.
Tarrio pleaded responsible to destruction of property and tried possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding system. Police mentioned officers discovered two unloaded firearm magazines emblazoned with the Proud Boys emblem in Tarrio’s bag once they arrested him on Jan. 4.
Proud Boys members continuously brawl with antifascist activists at rallies and protests. With allies like longtime Trump backer Roger Stone, the group of self-described “Western chauvinists” emerged from far-right fringes and entered mainstream GOP circles throughout former President Donald Trump’s administration.
A number of Jan. 6 defendants have filed fits concerning the D.C. jail facility. A type of instances led to a shock U.S. Marshals Service inspection final month, which discovered systemic abuse and unsanitary circumstances.
A federal choose later discovered each the jail’s warden and the director of the corrections division in contempt of courtroom. U.S. District Decide Royce Lamberth had summoned the jail officers to courtroom within the case of Christopher Worrell, a member of the Proud Boys who has been charged within the Jan. 6 assault and who was delayed medical look after a damaged wrist.
The Justice Division introduced plans to switch 400 federal prisoners from a complete inhabitants of about 1,500 to a different facility in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, Tarrio and the opposite Jan. 6 defendants had been not set to be part of that switch.
Tarrio on Monday cited the federal prisoner switch as proof that the D.C. jail was easy unfit to proceed working.
He instructed the choose, “They don’t transfer 400 prisoners for nothing.”
Kunzelman reported from School Park, Maryland.