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Proud Boy organiser arrested in Florida over riot at Capitol

PTI Orlando (Florida) | Updated on January 21, 2021

The Proud Boys group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies

Two Florida men, including a self-described organiser for the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, were arrested Wednesday on charges of taking part in the siege of the US Capitol earlier this month, authorities said.

Joseph Biggs, 37, was arrested in central Florida and faces charges of obstructing an official proceeding before Congress, entering a restricted on the groups of the US Capitol and disorderly conduct.

According to an arrest affidavit, Biggs was part of a crowd on January 6 that overwhelmed Capitol Police officers who were manning a metal barrier on the steps of the Capitol. The mob entered the building as lawmakers were certifying President Joe Biden's election win.

Biggs appeared to be wearing a walkie-talkie during the storming of the Capitol, but he told FBI agents that he had no knowledge about the planning of the destructive riot and didn't know who organised it, the affidavit said.

Also read: Capitol Riots: More than 100 individuals arrested, says FBI

Ahead of the riot, Biggs told followers of his on the social media app Parler to dress in black to resemble the far-left antifa movement, according to the affidavit.

Biggs had organised a 2019 rally in Portland, Oregon, in which more than 1,000 far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators faced off.

The Proud Boys are a neofascist group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies. During a September presidential debate, Trump had urged them to “stand back and stand by” when asked to condemn them by a moderator.

An online court docket did not indicate whether Biggs has an attorney who could comment.

Jesus Rivera, 37, also was arrested Wednesday in Pensacola. He faces charges of knowingly entering a restricted building, intent to impede government business, disorderly conduct and demonstrating in the Capitol buildings.

Rivera uploaded a video to Facebook showing himself in the US Capitol crypt, authorities said. The five-minute video ends with Rivera starting to climb out a window at the Capitol, according to an arrest affidavit.

Also read: FBI receives over 1 lakh pieces of digital media after calls for tips on the US Capitol attack

An online court docket also did not list an attorney for Rivera.

The cases are being handled by federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia. More than a half-dozen other Floridians have been charged in relation to the Capitol assault.

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Published on January 21, 2021
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