ORLANDO, Fla. – An organizer for the right-wing extremist group the Proud Boys is facing federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Joseph Randall Biggs, 37, of Ormond Beach, was arrested Jan. 20 in the Middle District of Florida and is being prosecuted in Orlando on federal charges. He is charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, entering a restricted building or grounds and violent and disorderly conduct. According to the indictment, Biggs is a self-described organizer of certain Proud Boys events.
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Prosecutors unsealed the arrest affidavit this week for Biggs and several other members of the Proud Boys, revealing the extent of their accused roles in the Capitol riot and filing new charges.
Biggs now also faces charges including conspiracy, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, aiding and abetting and destruction of government property.
Investigators said a call was put out to to the group members on Dec. 29 from the Proud Boys chairman, saying the group planned to “turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th, but this time with a twist...”
The chairman told members not to wear the group colors of black and yellow but go “incognito” and spread out across Washington, D.C. in smaller teams, according to the indictment.
Investigators say the group was scheming to evade detection by law enforcement.
The indictment indicates Biggs was among the first group to breach the Capitol building, fighting with Capitol police. Biggs and other organizers led the group, using a bullhorn to the east side of the Capitol building before charging and moving metal barricades to enter the restricted areas, according to the affidavit.
After arriving at the police line, FBI investigators say Biggs posted a video announcing, “We’ve just taken the Capitol.”
While inside the Capitol, Biggs and others went into the Senate chamber, according to the indictment.
Prior and during the attack, investigators say the group used handheld radios, encrypted messaging apps and other communication equipment to coordinate.
On Jan. 5, a new encrypted messaging channel called “Boots on the Ground” was created for communications for Proud Boys members in Washington, D.C. with more than 60 members, documents show.
“We are trying to avoid getting into any shit tonight,” Biggs wrote in the channel. “Tomorrow’s the day.”
Investigators said the morning of Jan. 6 the “Boots on the Ground” group members were instructed to meet at the Washington Monument at 10 a.m. and again, reminded them not to wear Proud Boys’ colors of black and yellow.
At 2:19 p.m., a group member posted to the chat, “We just stormed the Capitol.” Moments later, Biggs and other Proud Boys posed for a photo on the steps of the Capitol, according to investigators.
Biggs celebrated the events later that night by posting on social media, “What a day,” according to the indictment.
The indictment notes that during the riot “approximately 81 members of the Capitol Police and 58 members of the Metropolitan Police Department were assaulted.” The Capitol building suffered millions of dollars in damages and that “many media members were assaulted and had cameras and other news-gathering equipment destroyed,” according to the indictment.
Biggs remains out on bail.