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Proud Boys Leader to Stay in Jail, Despite the Conditions

Judge rules solution to the problem isn't to release Enrique Tarrio
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2021 6:08 PM CST
Updated Nov 24, 2021 1:56 PM CST
Proud Boys Leader Complains About 'Gulag' Prison Conditions
In this Sept. 26, 2020 photo, Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio wears a hat that says The War Boys during a rally in Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo/Allison Dinner, Judge Jonathan H. Pittma)

(Newser) Update: Enrique Tarrio has lost his bid to be released from jail early. A judge has ruled that the Proud Boys leader will not be put on house arrest or have his sentence reduced just because he complained about conditions in the District of Columbia Jail, the Guardian reports. Superior Court Judge Jonathan Pittman said corrections officials conceded that many of Tarrio's allegations about the jail and his treatment were true, per the Washington Post. But Pittman said the answer is to improve conditions for all inmates. Our original story from Nov. 16 follows:

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The leader of the Proud Boys says he's being held in shameful conditions. Enrique Tarrio, who began serving a 155-day sentence at the District of Columbia Jail on Sept. 6, asked a judge Monday to release him and place him on home confinement because of "inhumane" conditions, the Guardian reports. He said the 45-year-old DC jail should be shut down immediately. "I've been to jail before and what I’ve seen here, I've never seen anywhere else," Tarrio, appearing in DC Superior Court via video, told the judge. "It’s insane. It's a gulag."

Tarrio, who was arrested two days before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot for burning a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historic Black church, said guards were abusive and prisoners with medical issues were neglected. In a motion for emergency released filed last week, Tarrio's lawyer, Lucas Dansie, said Tarrio was frequently denied running water, served cold or inedible food, and "intimidated and antagonized by correctional staff to dissuade him from making complaints about the horrendous conditions."

Authorities agreed to make changes at the DC jail after a surprise inspection from the US Marshals Service last month found conditions similar to those described by Tarrio's lawyer, reports the Washington Post. Judge Jonathan H. Pittman said he would rule on Tarrio's request later this week, though he questioned why Tarrio would be more eligible than other prisoners to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement. "What makes Mr. Tarrio different from all the other prisoners?" the judge asked. (Read more Proud Boys stories.)

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