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capitol riot investigation

FBI reportedly looking into whether any Proud Boys played a role in organizing Capitol violence

FBI agents know that Proud Boys members were part of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol last week, and now they are investigating whether they had a role in planning the violence, people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

The leader of the Proud Boys — a far-right group with ties to white nationalism — is Enrique Tarrio. He was arrested in Washington, D.C., two days before the riot, which took place immediately after a "Stop the Steal" rally attended by President Trump. Tarrio planned to go to the rally, he told the Post, before he was arrested in connection with the earlier burning of a Black Lives Matter banner that was stolen from a historic Black church.

During a Wednesday interview with the Post, Tarrio said the Proud Boys did not orchestrate the riot. "If they think we were organizing going into the Capitol, they're going to be sadly mistaken," he added. "Our plan was to stay together as a group and just enjoy the day. We weren't going to do a night march, anything like that. That's it as far as our day."

Tarrio told the Post he is also urging Proud Boys members to stay away from upcoming armed marches, including the Million Militia March scheduled for Inauguration Day. The group is on a "rally freeze and will not be organizing any events for the next month or so," he said.

Federal law enforcement is split when it comes to the Proud Boys. Some officials told the Post they are nothing more than a street gang that was only put in the spotlight because Trump publicly mentioned them by name. Others view the group in a more sinister light, and believe it is quickly growing into a more dangerous entity.