Proud Boys organizer arrested in Florida over riot at Capitol
ORLANDO, Fla. –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 U.S. 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 U.S. Capitol and disorderly conduct.
According to an arrest affidavit, Biggs was part of a crowd on Jan. 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 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.
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.
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 U.S. 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.