This story was first published by Raw Story on March 18. Triad City Beat is republishing with permission.
Authorities arrested Charles Donohoe, president of the Piedmont North Carolina chapter of the Proud Boys, in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol on March 17.
Lynne Klauer, the public information officer for the US Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of North Carolina, confirmed that Donohoe was arrested in Kernersville on Wednesday morning, and had his first appearance in federal court in Winston-Salem. The FBI requested that the court hold Donahoe in detention.
According to federal indictment documents, Donohoe, along with Zach Rehl, president of the Proud Boys’ Philadelphia chapter, is being charged with conspiring to interfere with law enforcement officers at the Capitol and with obstructing the certification of the presidential election.
The March 17 arrests are part of a widening crackdown on the Proud Boys’ leadership as the government makes the case that the group coordinated an assault on the Capitol leading to the riot, which led to at least five deaths, along with multiple injuries and property destruction.
Video shot on Jan. 6 by Eddie Block, a self-identified Proud Boy from California, shows a large group of Proud Boys marching towards the Capitol. Donohoe can be seen at the front line of that group near Ethan Nordean, a Proud Boy leader from Washington state, and Joe Biggs, a Proud Boy and former InfoWars correspondent from Florida. The government alleges that following the arrest of Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio on Jan. 4, Nordean “was nominated from within to have ‘war powers’ and to take ultimate leadership of the Proud Boys’ activities on January 6, 2021.”
Shortly before noon, according to a government motion filed in Nordean’s case, the Proud Boys arrived on the east side of the Capitol, with several holding Baofeng radios. Donohoe can be seen in Block’s video standing in a huddle with Nordean and Biggs.
“We’re going to go around this side,” Biggs said, with Donohoe standing behind him. Biggs gestured and pointed while speaking to Nordean, and Donohoe also pointed. “Form a line, guys, come on,” an unidentified Proud Boy holding a megaphone said, and the group started moving in the same direction.
The video shows the Proud Boys marching around the Capitol for almost an hour, including a stop to eat at a food-truck corral. It shows William Chrestman, a Proud Boy from Kansas City, conferring with Nordean. Chrestman was later arrested and charged with breaching the Capitol building.
The government’s case has noted that President Trump was still delivering his speech when the Proud Boys arrived at the Capitol for the second time, before 1 p.m., at the entrance to the Capitol grounds near the Peace Monument on First Street, Northwest.
Then, according to the government motion, the Proud Boys “forced their way through a line of Capitol police and the metal barriers that had been deployed to protect the Capitol and its occupants.”
“Oh shit, we’re tearing it down,” Block can be heard in the video. “We’re storming the Capitol, guys.”
Donohoe participated in a Proud Boys mobilization in Washington, DC on July 4, 2020 in which the group intercepted a Black Lives Matter march. He took on a coordinating role when about 40 Proud Boys from North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Carolina joined a #WhereAreOurChildren march in Fayetteville on Aug. 29 that highlighted concerns about child sex trafficking. The NC Proud Boys reciprocated by joining their counterparts for a rally in Philadelphia in September, days before President Trump emboldened them with his “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by” comment during a presidential debate.
Prior to the assault on the Capitol, the Proud Boys positioned themselves as a security force for an array of overlapping right-leaning activists, from the QAnon-inspired anti-trafficking march in Fayetteville to anti-lockdown and pro-Trump groups. Proud Boys leaders often said their primary purpose was to defend free speech and defend allies from violent “antifa” groups, a claim almost universally dismissed by their critics.
Donohoe told Triad City Beat in August that he is a Marine Corps veteran who was deployed in Iraq.
“We’re warriors, man,” he said. “Straight up. That’s what it is. Nobody joins the Proud Boys thinking they’re not going to get in a fight. If you look at the other side, nobody joins ‘antifa’ to peacefully protest. We’re just the rebuttal of the left, that’s what it is.”