Ethan Nordean, pictured, has been arrested by the FBI over his participation in the Capitol siege
Seattle Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean, 30, has been charged by the FBI for his participation in the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Nordean, who also goes by the name Rufio Panman, is the self-described ‘Sergeant of Arms’ of the Seattle Chapter of the Proud Boys and urged supporters to ‘bring back 1776’ ahead of the violent siege, according to a complaint filed by the FBI.
He has been charged in federal court in the District of Columbia with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and aiding and abetting, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Nordean, who uploaded a video on Parler encouraging his fellow members to ‘Let them remember the day they decided to make war with us’, in the days before the siege, has also been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in restricted building or grounds and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, which each carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
Nordean, shown circled inside the Capitol, is the self-described ‘Sergeant of Arms’ of the Seattle Chapter
Nordean admitted to being a ‘violent extremist’ in a post made to Parler two days after the siege
Nordean, pictured, posted a video to Parler on January 4 titled ‘Let them remember the day they decided to make war with us’
Prosecutors allege that Nordean was ‘near the front of the crowd of rioters’ and was among those who breached the Capitol.
Nordean was seen in photos and videos marching at the front of the group with Joseph Biggs, the self-described leader of the Proud Boys and an infamous conspiracy theorist.
Biggs has also been arrested, along with Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola – who was pictured smoking a cigar in the Capitol and talked about killing former Vice President Mike Pence.
Ethan Nordean, left, is pictured with Robert Gieswein, right, who was one of the first to enter the Capitol
Gieswein, circled left, was one of the first rioters to enter the Capitol after a window was broken by Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola, circled right
The FBI identified Nordean, circled, inside the Capitol through photos and videos posted online
Photos and videos from January 6 show Nordean at the front of the line of rioters facing off with Capitol police
Nordean, right, posted a photo to Parler dressed in paramilitary gear two days before the siege
Photos and screenshots of videos included with the complaint show that Nordean ‘was among those who entered the U.S. Capitol building after rioters forced entry and pushed past Capitol Police officers.’
‘Nordean was an active poster on the social media site Parler, where he identified himself as ‘Rufio Panman’ and utilized the username @REBELRUFIO,’ the complaint reads.
Posts Nordean made to Parler indicate that he and other Proud Boys planned to attempt ‘to overwhelm police barricades and enter the United States Capitol building,’ the complaint reads.
Nordean posted to Parler looking to obtain paramilitary gear for the group to wear during the violent siege.
Nordean indicated he was willing to ‘fight’ in a post shared to Parler, according to the FBI
Nordean, who went by the name Rufio Panman on Parler, identified as a Proud Boy on his account
Nordean, circled, is seen wearing yellow, the color of the Proud Boys, in this evidence photo
Gavin McInnes, center, is the founder of the Proud Boys organization – which has now been designated a terrorist group by the Canadian government
‘Anyone looking to help us with safety/protective gear, or communications equipment it would be much appreciated, things have gotten more dangerous for us this past year, anything helps,’ he posted to Parler on December 27.
WHO ARE THE PROUD BOYS?
Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes started the all-male Proud Boys in 2016. McInnes and the Proud Boys have described the group as a politically incorrect men’s club for ‘Western chauvinists’ and deny affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views.
The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Proud Boys as a hate group, saying that its members often spread ‘outright bigotry’ and ‘anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric’ over the internet, and have posted social media pictures of themselves with prominent Holocaust deniers, white nationalists and ‘known neo-Nazis.’
Current national leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, marched in the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017.
Proud Boys have been involved in a series of high-profile violent clashes at political events.
In New York City in October 2018, police arrested several Proud Boys members who brawled with anti-fascist protesters following a speech by McInnes at a Manhattan Republican club.
Proud Boys members also have frequently clashed with counterprotesters at rallies in California and Oregon.
Most recently, the group took part in the siege on the Capitol on January 6, where some members were seen breaking into the building.
In February, they were designated a terrorist group by Canada.
Nordean later uploaded a video to Parler on January 4 titled ‘Let them remember the day they decided to make war with us.’
The video show Nordean and other Proud Boys dressed in tactical gear along with the phrase Back the YELLOW, which is commonly used to show support for the group, the complaint reads.
In another video posted January 4, Nordean said that Proud Boys were ‘never going to look good [protecting the community], because violence doesn’t look good.’
Nordean added that the Proud Boys were going to ‘bring back that original spirit of 1776 of what really established the character of what America is.’
Two days after the Capitol siege, Nordean posted a picture of himself with the caption ‘Violent extremist’ which the FBI lambasted ‘as an effort to make light of the public condemnation of Nordean’s and others’ participation in the riot.’
Nordean also posted a picture on January 8 of a Capitol Police officer deploying pepper spray ‘with a caption celebrating disparaging police officers,’ the complaint reads.
‘If you feel bad for the police, you are a part of the problem,’ Nordean wrote.
‘They care more about federal property than protecting and serving the people.’
The Proud Boys have been designated a hate group by the watchdog organization Southern Poverty Law Center.
‘Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric,’ reads a narrative from the watchdog.
On Wednesday, the Canadian government added the Proud Boys to its list of terrorist organizations, USA Today reported.
‘Canada will not tolerate ideological, religious or politically motivated acts of violence,’ Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said.
A government official told the outlet that if a member engages in violent acts, they could face terrorism charges.
Giving money to the Proud Boys or buying the organization’s merchandise would also be a crime, the outlet reported.