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West coast Proud Boys leader charged in Capitol riot

A leader of the Proud Boys from the West Coast was charged Wednesday over his involvement in the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6 as the group draws further scrutiny over its ties to the deadly mob.

Prosecutors charged Ethan Nordean, who described himself as the “Sergeant of Arms” of the Seattle chapter of the Proud Boys, with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, and entering restricted grounds as part of the mob that ransacked the Capitol.

Federal officials alleged that Nordean was seen leading a group of Proud Boys members in Washington shortly before the insurrection began and was later observed entering the Capitol building. The Justice Department said in a release that he “was near the front of the crowd of rioters, who collectively approached, confronted, and vastly outnumbered Capitol Police.”

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Prosecutors pointed to a number of concerning social media posts made prior to the riots, including a video in which he lamented “blatant, rampant voter fraud” in the presidential election. He later said the Proud Boys were going to “bring back that original spirit of 1776 of what really established the character of what America is. And it’s not complacency, it’s not low standards. It’s ‘this is how it’s going to be, and I don’t give a god damn.’ ”

Nordean is just the latest Proud Boys member to be charged over the riot, which led to the deaths of several people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who lay in honor in the Capitol Wednesday.

Two of the group’s members were charged last month with conspiracy to obstruct law enforcement officers’ efforts to protect the Capitol from the mob.  

The Proud Boys, a self-proclaimed “Western chauvinist” group that espouses racist views, gained national prominence after videos circulated of its members engaging in violent street fights with left-wing demonstrators. Their profile skyrocketed when former President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE declined to explicitly condemn them in a presidential debate, telling them to “stand back and stand by,” a remark the group interpreted as one of support.

Canada Wednesday labeled the Proud Boys a terrorist group.