Ron DeSantis hints he’ll PARDON Proud Boys who were jailed for up to 22 years each for January 6 Capitol riots – as he condemns their ‘excessive sentences’
- Ron DeSantis took aim at the ‘excessive sentences’ handed down to Proud Boys
- He said there was a double standard over a lack of prosecutions for BLM rioters
- But he didn’t commit to blanket pardons, admitting some may have ‘committed misconduct’
The Florida Governor took aim at the ‘excessive sentences’ handed down to the activists, the longest of which was set Tuesday to the group’s former leader Enrique Tarrio – who was sentenced to 22 years for the breach.
Sentences for the four Proud Boys leaders who have been sent behind bars have ranged between 15 and 22 years, with Tarrio’s lengthy stint seen as harsh by some as he was not even in DC at the time of the riot.
Desantis, 44, held off committing to blanket pardons as he admitted there were ‘people that probably did commit misconduct, they may have been violent’, but said there was a double standard over the lack of prosecutions for BLM rioters.
Tarrio is among several other high-ranking former or current Proud Boys leaders to be sentenced over the January 6 attack, and prosecutors continue to add to the over 1,100 people charged over the siege.
DeSantis hinted at pardoning the Proud Boys in an interview with Newsmax’s Eric Bolling on Wednesday, the day after Tarrio was jailed.
Asked if he would pardon or commute sentences handed down on the group, which hve ranged between 15 and 22 years, DeSantis said he would ‘look at all those cases’ if he became president.
‘There’s some examples of people that should not have been prosecuted. They just walked into the Capitol,’ he said, arguing that if they had been BLM protestors, ‘they would not have been prosecuted.’
‘Then there’s other examples of people that probably did commit misconduct, they may have been violent,’ he continued.
‘But to say it’s an act of terrorism when it was basically a protest that devolved into a riot, to do excessive sentences— you can look at, okay maybe they were guilty, but 22 years if other people that did other things got six months?’
He concluded with a veiled swipe at recent prosecutions against Donald Trump, which some Republicans claim are biased by President Biden’s Department of Justice, as he called for ‘a single standard of justice.’
‘We’ll use pardons and commutations as appropriate to ensure that everyone’s treated equally, and as we know, a lot of people with the BLM riots, they didn’t get prosecuted at all.’
Prosecutors sought over three decades in prison in Tarrio’s case as they described him as the ringleader of a plot to use violence at the January 6 riots.
Tarrio discussed ‘revolutions’ and ‘storming’ the Capitol complex prior to January 6, but was not in the capital at the time as he was arrested upon entry into the capital on January 5, 2021 for a prior offense of burning the Black Lives Matter flag and on several weapons charges.
He was joined in being prosecuted for the siege by self-described Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs, who sobbed as he was sentenced to 17 years on Thursday for his role in the riot after pleading for leniency to take care of his daughter and ailing mother.
The judge ruled that Biggs qualified for a terrorism sentencing enhancement because he tore down a fence that stood between police and rioters.
Ethan Nordean, who prosecutors said was the Proud Boys’ leader on the ground on January 6, was sentenced to 18 years in prison, tying the record for the longest sentence in the attack at the time before it was beaten by Tarrio.
Prosecutors had asked for 27 years for Nordean, who was a Seattle-area Proud Boys chapter president.
Lawyers for the Proud Boys deny that there was any plot to attack the Capitol or stop the transfer of presidential power.
‘There is zero evidence to suggest Tarrio directed any participants to storm the U.S. Capitol building prior to or during the event,’ Tarrio’s attorneys wrote in court papers.
Police arrested Tarrio in Washington on Jan. 4, 2021, on charges that he defaced a Black Lives Matter banner during an earlier rally in the nation´s capital, but law enforcement officials later said he was arrested in part over concerns about the potential for unrest during the certification.
He complied with a judge´s order to leave the city after his arrest.
On Jan. 6, dozens of Proud Boys leaders, members and associates were among the first rioters to breach the Capitol. The mob´s assault overwhelmed police, forced lawmakers to flee the House and Senate floors and disrupted the joint session of Congress for certifying Biden´s victory.
The backbone of the government´s case was hundreds of messages exchanged by Proud Boys in the days leading up to Janury 6.
In one notable example as Proud Boys swarmed the Capitol, Tarrio cheered them on from afar, writing on social media: ‘Do what must be done.’ In a Proud Boys encrypted group chat later that day someone asked what they should do next.
Tarrio responded: ‘Do it again.’
‘Make no mistake,’ Tarrio wrote in another message. ‘We did this.’