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New Report Details Extremist Group Proud Boys’ Leading Role in Jan. 6, 2021, Attack on Capitol

By Erin Copland

Most of the defendants accused of breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, who had links to organized extremist groups were affiliated with the Proud Boys, according to a new research brief from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland.

Forty-three members of the Proud Boys, a group that promotes a male-dominated culture and is deeply rooted in white nationalism and misogyny, have been charged for their roles in the insurrection a year ago, according to the report by START’s Radicalization and Disengagement team.

The Department of Justice reports that at least 725 defendants are facing charges (including assault, weapons possession and rioting) in the violent uprising, led by supporters of former President Donald Trump. Five people died and more than 140 police officers were injured, and the Capitol incurred more than $1.5 million in property damage.

Proud Boys defendants in the Capitol breach hail from 22 states and the District of Columbia, including 13 from Florida, 13 from New York, seven from Washington and five from California.

Of the overall number of suspects criminally charged, 167 (23%) have pleaded guilty, and at least 70 (10%) have been sentenced—most (58%) to time served or probation, with the longest sentence being 63 months’ incarceration.

Thirty-nine defendants are being held in the Washington, D.C. jail waiting for their cases to be resolved.

At least 105 defendants (14%) were or are associated with extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and Boogaloo Movement, while 77 expressed support for QAnon. In addition, 119 (16%) individuals have military backgrounds.

As of Dec. 31, 83 Proud Boys members and sympathizers have allegedly carried out ideologically motivated crimes in the United States.

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