Proud Boys frontman calls for early release from prison, citing inhumane conditions| Today Headlines

Proud Boys frontman calls for early release from prison, citing inhumane conditions

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Complaining about prison conditions, a top leader of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys on Monday asked a judge to release him before he finishes serving a five-month sentence for burning a Black Lives Matter banner from a historic Black Church in Washington, DC

DC Superior Court Judge Jonathan Pittman said Monday he will rule by the end of the week on whether to reduce the sentence of Proud Boys President Henry “Enrique” Tarrio to 90 days. But the judge adopted a systematically skeptical tone that left Tarrio, testifying by video from prison, visibly collapsed in frustration.

Tarrio has requested that his sentence be reduced or that he be allowed to end it under house arrest because he claims he was harassed by correctional officers and exposed to inhumane prison conditions. He said his cell was regularly flooded with dirty toilet water from a nearby cell.

“I’ve been to jail before and what I’ve seen here I’ve never seen anywhere else,” said Tarrio, wearing an orange jumpsuit and a face mask. “This place must be closed immediately.”

He detailed the abusive guards, constantly flooded cells, smoky hallways and medical neglect, saying he saw a prisoner have a fit and lay there for half an hour before any help arrived.

His voice breaking, Tarrio said: “I am in a mortal fear that something will happen to me.”

The DC Department of Corrections did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But government lawyers acknowledged some problems with the conditions of detention, saying they were being resolved. The flooding, they said, came from a prisoner in a nearby cell who regularly flooded his own toilet in protest, and said Tarrio had since been moved to another cell. They denied that Tarrio was mistreated, singled out or disenfranchised in any way.

Tarrio’s complaints about detention conditions in Washington mirror those of several indicted prisoners during the January 6 riot at the United States Capitol. Conditions at DC Central Prison have long been a subject of criticism for local activists. The issue has taken on a national political dimension in recent months because of the January 6 defendants.

In October, a federal judge convicted the Director of Corrections and the District of Columbia Jail Director of contempt of court and called on the Department of Justice to investigate violations of inmates’ civil rights. The district and the US Marshals Service reached an agreement last week to improve conditions in the prison.

Judge Pittman on Monday took the prison’s damaged reputation as evidence that Tarrio was not targeted for mistreatment.

“It is obviously sad to hear about these conditions,” he said. “I come back to the same question: How is Mr. Tarrio’s condition different from that of any other inmate in the prison? “

Tarrio claims he suffered “serious violations of his rights on a daily basis” while being held in an isolation unit. Prison workers ignored his requests for medical treatment, threw cold and often inedible meals in his cell and denied him access to running water in his cell, he said.

“Sir. Tarrio was intimidated and upset by correctional staff to dissuade him from filing a complaint about the horrible conditions,” wrote Tarrio’s attorney, Lucas Dansie.

About three dozen leaders, members and associates of the Proud Boys were charged in the riot on Capitol Hill. Some of them are accused of conspiring to carry out a coordinated attack on the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral victory of President Joe Biden.

Tarrio was not on Capitol Hill on January 6 and has not been charged in connection with the riot. He was arrested in Washington on warrant two days before the siege and ordered to stay outside the nation’s capital.

Tarrio pleaded guilty to destroying property and attempting to possess a high capacity ammunition supply device. Police said officers found two unloaded gun magazines featuring the Proud Boys logo in Tarrio’s bag when they arrested him on January 4.

Members of the Proud Boys frequently brawl with anti-fascist activists at rallies and protests. With allies like longtime Trump backer Roger Stone, the self-proclaimed group of “Western chauvinists” emerged from the far-right fringes and entered mainstream GOP circles during former President Donald’s administration. Trump.

Several January 6 defendants have filed lawsuits against the DC prison facility. One of those cases led to a surprise inspection by the US Marshals Service last month, which revealed systemic abuse and unsanitary conditions.

A federal judge later found the director of the prison and the director of corrections in contempt of court. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth had called prison officials to court in the case of Christopher Worrell, a member of the Proud Boys who was charged in the January 6 attack and who was delayed for medical treatment for a broken wrist.

The Department of Justice has announced plans to transfer 400 federal prisoners of a total population of approximately 1,500 to another facility in Pennsylvania. However, Tarrio and the other January 6 defendants were not to be part of this transfer.

Tarrio cited the transfer of federal prisoners on Monday as proof that the DC prison was simply unfit to continue functioning.

He told the judge, “They are not moving 400 prisoners for nothing.

Kunzelman reported from College Park, Maryland.

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