A member of the Proud Boys from the Hudson Valley has pleaded not guilty after being charged for his role in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last month.
Beacon resident William Pepe, age 31, and Rochester resident Dominic Pezzola, age 43, both alleged members of the Proud Boys nationalist organization, pleaded not guilty following their indictments in the District of Columbia on multiple charges related to the riot, despite video evidence of their roles during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Specifically, Pepe was charged with conspiracy; civil disorder; unlawfully entering restricted buildings or grounds, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in restricted buildings or grounds.
Pepe and Pezzola pleaded not guilty in Washington, D.C. this week
Federal prosecutors said that Pezzola and Pepe are members of the Proud Boys, a group self-described as a “pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists.”
“Proud Boys members often wear the colors yellow and black, as well as other apparel adorned with Proud Boys-related logos and emblems,” they wrote in a criminal complaint. “It is alleged that both Pepe and Pezzola possess tactical vests branded with the Proud Boys logo, and have attended various Proud Boys gatherings and protests.”
According to the indictment, Pezzola and Pepe “took actions to evade and render ineffective the protective equipment deployed by Capitol Police in active riot control measures, including actions to remove temporary metal barricades erected by the Capitol Police for the purpose of controlling access to the Capitol Grounds," and for stealing property belonging to Capitol Police.
A Metro-North employee, Pepe allegedly called out of work on the day of the riot. He’s since been suspended by the MTA without pay when photos and video surfaced of him at the Capitol during the insurgence. He was reportedly identified by a co-worker, who notified the FBI, who arrested him last month.
Pepe and Pezzola are believed to be the first Proud Boys members charged for their role in the riots at the Capitol building. Pepe was initially arrested and charged on Tuesday, Jan. 12 before his indictment late last month. Pepe remains released and is scheduled to appear back in court on Friday, March 26.
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