Quantcast

Feds arrest Proud Boys leader Joe Biggs in wake of US Capitol riot

Joe Biggs, a Proud Boy who lives in Ormond Beach, Fla., is seen entering the U.S. Capitol during the riot there on Jan. 6. This screen grab is from a Parler video published by ProPublica.

TNS

By MARK HARPER | The Daytona Beach News-Journal | Published: January 20, 2021

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — One of the Proud Boys' leaders, Joe Biggs of Ormond Beach, was arrested Wednesday on charges related to storming the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

On Wednesday afternoon, FBI agents were combing through Biggs' home on Camino Circle, as well as a white Toyota truck parked in the driveway.

A video, originally posted on Parler and published Sunday as part of a ProPublica investigative project, shows Biggs, one of the Proud Boys leaders, wearing a gray and black checked jacket and dark ski cap as he enters the building with a mob of rioters through a broken-glass door.

A person near the camera, perhaps the videographer, calls out, "1776, motherf------s," before saying: "Biggs, what do you got to say?"

Biggs lowers his facemask, smiles, and says, "This is awesome."

A Department of Justice affidavit cites the video as well as other online photos and videos showing Biggs was part of the forced entry into the Capitol Building shortly after then-President Donald Trump addressed a large rally in Washington, D.C., at which he inaccurately claimed that he beat Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Trump also urged those at the rally to go to the Capitol Building, where Congress was in the process of certifying the election results.

Biggs faces three charges: obstructing, influencing or impeding a proceeding before Congress; entering restricted grounds without authority; and engaging in disorderly or disruptive activity.

Asked last week by The News-Journal whether he anticipated facing criminal charges for entering the Capitol Building, Biggs said, "F---, no," before declining further to talk about his activities. He also hung up on a News-Journal reporter on Tuesday.

The Daily Mail quoted Biggs on Tuesday as saying he entered the Capitol Building with only the intention of using a restroom.

'The entire time I was in there I felt bad," Biggs told The Daily Mail. "I didn't want to be there. I didn't touch anything, I didn't break anything, I didn't steal anything. There was no ill intent other than I really needed a f***ing piss."

Biggs said he went to the bathroom, washed his hands and exited the building, according to the interview.

Who are the Proud Boys?

The Proud Boys have been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others. The group became a focal point at the Sept. 29 presidential debate.

"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," Trump said.

The Proud Boys are an all-male group (they don't allow women as members) who proclaim themselves as the MAGA nation's defenders against what they decry as left-wing protests. That includes protests across the nation in the wake of several killings of Black people at the hands of police this year, and more recently, at the "Million MAGA March in November and another Washington rally on Dec. 12.

More than once, the Proud Boys have confronted left-of-center protesters including antifa supporters in cities like Portland, and those incidents have veered into violent street fights.

The arrest affidavit states Proud Boys had planned to attend the Jan. 6 rally in black, as antifa are known to wear.

Some estimates put the number of Proud Boys at several thousand. Biggs is one of at least two prominent Proud Boys members who have Volusia County ties.

Who is Joe Biggs?

Biggs — a 37-year-old U.S. Army veteran who also works as a right-wing journalist and commentator — is also the divorced father of a 3-year-old daughter. He gave The News-Journal a 30-minute interview in October, after the first presidential debate.

He said he joined the Proud Boys in 2016 or 2017 after meeting some of them in a bar in Austin, Texas, where he worked for InfoWars, the website run by conspiracy-theory peddler Alex Jones.

“It’s just like when you’re in the military you have a brotherhood. You have a bunch of guys you can depend on that will have your back and it’s kind of nice having that," Biggs said.

The night of Trump's "stand back and stand by" quote about the Proud Boys, during the Sept. 29 presidential debate with Joe Biden, Biggs wrote on Parler: "Trump basically said to go f--- them up! this makes me so happy"

A week later, speaking to The News-Journal, Biggs said: "I don't know what he (Trump) meant by it, but I went with it the way I normally do because I'm a sarcastic guy and I like to have fun and joke."

(c)2021 The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Visit The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla. at www.news-journalonline.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC