Dec. 12, 2020
The man on the left in the video below allegedly drew a knife after being pushed and punched in a violent confrontation with Proud Boys after a Trump rally in Washington and stabbed Jeremy Bertino, a member of the group’s leadership. The individual was charged in connection with the incident, but those charges were later dropped. It was one of the most violent incidents of a weekend of unrest, during which pro-Trump protesters engaged in clashes that produced multiple injuries and dozens of arrests. And it helped turn the Proud Boys against D.C. police, whom they saw as protecting far-left protesters.
Dec. 15, 2020
Dec. 20, 2020
A day after Trump tweeted that supporters should come to D.C. on Jan. 6 for a “wild” rally, Proud Boys were preparing for violence that day.
Dec. 28, 2020
On his show “Rebel Talk” on the video platform Rumble, Ethan Nordean tells another Proud Boy he was “furious” at D.C. police on Dec. 14 and that the group could have easily overwhelmed law enforcement. Prosecutors said Nordean and others used “1776” as a shorthand for what they wanted to achieve — revolution.
Later in the conversation Nordean says the Proud Boys would be able to swiftly replace law enforcement and depose government officials. The second speaker in the video has not been charged in the Jan. 6 riot.
Dec. 29, 2020
Later that same month, Zachary Rehl discusses plans of a future, more complex “operation” with other “Ministry of Self Defense” members in an encrypted video chat. Participants of the call who have been charged in the Jan. 6 riot include Tarrio (Noble), Rehl, Bertino (@Noblebeard), and John Charles Stewart (Blackbeard). Stewart, according to court documents and Tarrio’s attorneys, pleaded guilty in June in a Proud Boys conspiracy.
Dec. 30, 2020
Tarrio shares on a phone call that he is likely to be arrested soon for burning a stolen “Black Lives Matter” flag at the Dec. 12, 2020, pro-Trump rally in D.C. where member Bertino was stabbed. Proud Boys were angry that charges were dropped in that case.
Dec. 31, 2020
On “Rebel Talk,” joined this time by Bertino, Nordean reiterates his belief that force is necessary to achieve political goals, adding violence was integral to the U.S. Constitution.
Jan. 1, 2021
Tarrio promotes the idea of “revolt” and revolution in public and private, while other Proud Boys — including “MOSD” members Bertino and Stewart — discuss turning against police.
At 8:36 p.m., a member of the group messages: “Our disposition towards the police needs to be evaluated.”
Jan. 4, 2021
Tarrio is arrested after arriving in D.C. Prosecutors told jurors he left a parting directive that the Proud Boys acted on two days later.
Jan. 5, 2021
Tarrio, released from D.C. jail and ordered to leave the city, first meets with leaders of other right-wing pro-Trump groups at a downtown parking garage. The meeting includes Oath Keepers’ head Stewart Rhodes, who would later be found guilty of seditious conspiracy. But no substantive conversation between the two men was recorded in video. Prosecutors had wanted to introduce the video as evidence in the trial, but a judge rejected the request and jurors did not see the interaction.
Jan. 6, 2021
The Trump rally begins at the Ellipse south of the White House, while Proud Boys are assembling at the Washington Monument. Nordean, dressed in a black ball cap and jacket, uses a megaphone to give marching orders. More than 100 Proud Boys begin moving to the Capitol, well before Trump directs supporters to go there at 12:16 p.m.
Nordean announces his intent to meet up with a separate pro-Trump group led by Alex Jones. The Infowars.com founder — who promoted the lie that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax — said he was invited by the White House to lead a march to the Capitol. Jones has not been charged over Jan. 6 and has denied wrongdoing.
As the Proud Boys approach the Capitol, some yell at police officers that are readying themselves for duty — including Christopher Worrell, who is dressed in tactical gear and records police with his phone while taunting them. Worrell was charged with four felonies and other counts, including rioting and spraying pepper gel at police at a critical point leading to the initial Capitol breach. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him and is currently on trial before a judge. Worrell has called himself “political prisoner” who has had his civil rights violated.
A voice within a crowd of assembled Proud Boys led by Nordean yells to “take the Capitol” as they move closer toward the building. An unidentified off-camera voice admonishes the yeller. Nordean laughs off the outburst.
Biggs — in gray plaid coat, black hat and gloves — discusses with Nordean how to link up with Jones’s larger group on the opposite side of the Capitol, while making clear his animosity toward police over Tarrio’s arrest.
Nordean, Biggs, and Rehl arrive at the Capitol grounds at the head of the marching Proud Boys group. They merge with Trump supporters who walked from the Ellipse and face a handful of police blocking a walkway from leading to the Capitol from Peace Monument near the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 1st Street NW.
Almost immediately, Biggs is recorded whipping up the crowd into a profane chant aimed at antifa via a megaphone. Biggs and the Proud Boys take turns with others who lead group chants and direct the crowd to the nearby police line.
Ryan Samsel whispers into Biggs’s ear just before the key moment when rioters push down the barricades, knocking police backward. (Samsel has pleaded not guilty to assaulting officers; he is set to go to trial in October).
Biggs and Rehl both took videos just after they broke through the barriers onto the Capitol grounds. Prosecutors said Rehl shouted “Storm the Capitol”; Rehl’s wife and a defense expert said they did not recognize the voice as his.
Video edited and presented by the Justice Department identifies Biggs, Nordean and Rehl breaking through the police line and advancing closer to the Capitol building, as rioters violently confront officers.
The Proud Boys split in the chaos around the Capitol, with Biggs and Nordean taking a break to celebrate.
Body-camera video appears to capture Rehl using chemical spray on police guarding a Capitol barrier; he denies doing so.
Video edited and presented by the Justice Department identifies Dominic Pezzola wrestling away a riot shield from police during a violent confrontation on the Capitol steps. Pezzola later would not be convicted of seditious conspiracy but found guilty a lesser charge of conspiring to impede lawmakers and police.
Pezzola breaks a window into the building with the stolen riot shield, giving insurrectionists their first point of entry into the Capitol building. Biggs walks in and gleefully expresses his excitement to the camera at the ensuing chaos. Within minutes, lawmakers began evacuating, with some hiding in their offices from the mob.
Tarrio, watching the riot on television in Baltimore, takes credit for the Capitol breach with Bertino, who is recovering from the December stabbing in North Carolina. Publicly, he tells rioters not to back down.
Inside the Capitol, the Proud Boys celebrated.
The Proud Boys stay in the building for about half an hour; after leaving, Biggs, Nordean, and others record themselves celebrating the day’s exploits.
Skull and Bones chat
At 4:09 p.m. someone in the chat asks, “So what do we do now?”
The Capitol is cleared of rioters, and lawmakers prepare to return to finish certifying the election results.