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Far-right extremists are having a rough time with the whole jail thing

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio is just the latest extremist to cite jail conditions in his plea for a reduced sentence.


On Monday, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio — a leader of the violent far-right extremist group Proud Boys — pleaded with a judge to reduce his jail sentence from five months to 90 days. 

Tarrio, who is serving time for a weapons charge and for burning a Black Lives Matter flag he stole from a historic Black church in December, told the judge that the Washington jail where he’s being detained is just too tough for him to handle.

“I’ve been to jail before and what I’ve seen here, I’ve never seen anywhere else,” Tarrio reportedly told D.C. Superior Court Judge Jonathan Pittman via a video call behind bars. “This place needs to be shut down immediately.”

Black and brown civil rights activists have been decrying poor conditions at the jail for years.

Tarrio, who is being held in a special unit separate from the jail’s general population, said he had been subjected to abusive guards, flooded jail cells, smoke-filled hallways and medical neglect during his incarceration at the D.C.'s Central Detention Facility (CDF).

“I’m deathly afraid that something is going to happen to me,” Tarrio testified Monday.

Pittman said he would rule by the end of the week on whether to reduce Tarrio’s sentence.

Tarrio is just the latest far-right extremist, including several Jan. 6 riot participants, who have complained about conditions at CDF in an effort to get their sentences reduced. Apparently, these people want the attention that comes with martyrdom without actually having to experience anything of the sort. They just want to fast-forward through the accountability stuff and hurry on to speaking tours and interviews with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Photo Illustration: A red MAGA hat behind prison bars
MSNBC / Getty

Nonetheless, some of the jail’s complaining extremists have actually received concessions from the court. For example, a federal judge held corrections officials at the D.C. jail in contempt for failing to provide medical records on Chris Worrell, another member of the Proud Boys who claimed his medical needs weren’t being met in prison. Worrell is accused of using chemical spray on police during the attack on the U.S. Capitol in January. 

After criticism from Tarrio and some of the Jan. 6 rioters prompted an inspection of the jail last month, the U.S. Marshals Service announced plans to move about 400 incarcerated people from the jail to a federal prison in Pennsylvania. The transfer will not include roughly 120 federal detainees, including all of the defendants awaiting trial for charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Gotta give those extremists the breathing room they want, I suppose.

Complaints from Tarrio, Worrell and other conservative extremists have put the state of the D.C. jail into focus, despite the fact Black and brown civil rights activists have been decrying poor conditions at the jail for years

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine pointed that out during a public hearing last week, channeling activists’ dismay over the jail’s preferential treatment for violent, conservative complainers. 

“Concerns about conditions at the jail received little attention until they were raised by mostly white defendants accused of perpetrating the Jan. 6 insurrection,” he said.

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