Dominic Pezzola and William Pepe, Proud Boys, indicted on federal conspiracy charges in Capitol riot
Dominic Pezzola and William Pepe – two so-called “Proud Boys” among the scores of people facing charges for storming the U.S. Capitol – were indicted in federal court on new counts of conspiracy Friday.
Mr. Pezzola, 43, and Mr. Pepe, 31, both residents of New York, were arrested roughly two weeks earlier on other charges related to the violent mob action that happened at the Capitol building on Jan. 6.
A federal grand jury sitting in Washington, D.C., has subsequently indicted Mr. Pezzola and Mr. Pepe on charges they conspired to prevent members of the U.S. Capitol Police from doing their job.
“The object of the conspiracy was to obstruct, influence, impede and interfere with law enforcement officers engaged in their official duties in protecting the U.S. Capitol and its grounds,” the indictment alleges.
The newly unsealed indictment alleges that both men “took actions to evade and render ineffective the protective equipment deployed by Capitol Police” as law enforcement was overrun by mobs of rioters.
Both men are accused in the indictment of having intentionally moved temporary metal barricades that had been installed outside the Capitol to prevent access to its grounds.
Mr. Pezzola is also accused of stealing a riot shield belonging to a member of the U.S. Capitol Police and using it to break a window, in turn allowing multiple rioters to breach the building.
“He showed perseverance, determination and coordination in being at the front lines every step along the way before breaking into the Capitol,” Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., said in a court filing Friday.
A lawyer defending Mr. Pezzola in the case did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment. A lawyer for Mr. Pepe could not be found in public court filings as of Saturday afternoon.
The U.S. Department of Justice has charged more than 150 people with crimes related to storming the Capitol, which happened as Congress was meeting to formalize the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Mr. Pezzola and Mr. Pepe are from Rochester and Beacon, New York, respectively. They are both identified in charging documents as Proud Boys, a self-described fraternal group of “western chauvinists.”
Nicholas R. Ochs, the founder of the Proud Boys chapter in Hawaii, also faces charges for storming the Capitol. So does Joseph Randall Biggs, a leading Proud Boys organizer from Florida, among others.
Published at Sat, 30 Jan 2021 19:30:34 +0000