search

Proud Boy organizer arrested in Florida over riot at US Capitol

Joseph Biggs, a leader in the neofascist group, held over alleged involvement in January 6 riot; told followers to dress in black to resemble antifa members

Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march across the Hawthorne Bridge during an 'End Domestic Terrorism' rally in Portland, Oregon, on August 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march across the Hawthorne Bridge during an 'End Domestic Terrorism' rally in Portland, Oregon, on August 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

ORLANDO, Florida — Two Florida men, including a self-described organizer 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 area on the grounds 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 US 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 organized it, the affidavit said.

A protester carries a Proud Boys banner, a right-wing group, while other members start to unfurl a large US flag in front of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Oregon, Sept. 7, 2020 (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)

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 organized 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.

Police hold back supporters of US President Donald Trump as they gather outside the US Capitol’s Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Olivier Douliery/AFP)

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.

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.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed