A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

START releases data on Proud Boys ahead of Capitol Riot anniversary

Of the Capitol breach defendants with links to organized extremist groups, most (54) were affiliated with the Proud Boys—a group that promotes a traditional, male-dominated version of Western culture, according to a new research brief from START's Radicalization and Disengagement (RaD) team.

The Proud Boys were formed by Gavin McInnes, co-founder of Vice Media, in 2016 during the U.S. presidential election. Proud Boys consider themselves “Western chauvinists” who romanticize a traditional, male-dominated version of Western culture. While the Proud Boys vehemently deny adhering to a racist ideology, the organization is deeply rooted in white nationalism and misogyny.

As of December 31, 2021, 83 Proud Boys members and sympathizers have allegedly carried out ideologically motivated crimes in the United States. Using auxiliary data from the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) project, this research brief provides information on the characteristics of U.S. Proud Boys defendants and their crimes.

This research brief is a companion to several other data resources that the team has released throughout the past year that provide important context about extremism in the United States and the Capitol breach. These include:

QAnon Offenders in the United States: The team explores data on the 101 QAnon followers who have allegedly committed ideologically-motivated crimes in the United States as of September 22, 2021.

QAnon Crime Maps: A data visualization that allows users to explore all crimes that have been committed globally that were inspired by the QAnon conspiracy theory. This includes a map dedicated to the Capitol breach defendants who promoted the conspiracy theory.

Extremism in the Ranks and After: The team explores data on the 458 individuals with U.S. military backgrounds who committed criminal acts that were motivated by their political, economic, social, or religious goals from 1990 through November 2021. This report includes a section dedicated to the Capitol defendants with military backgrounds.

In addition, here are some other important statistics on those who are facing criminal charges:

According to the Department of Justice, at least 725 defendants are facing charges for the events of January 6, 2021.

Of those charged, 167 (23%) have pleaded guilty, and at least 70 (10%) have been sentenced – most (58%) to time served or probation, with the longest sentence being 63 months’ incarceration.

There are 39 defendants being held in the Washington, D.C. jail waiting for their cases to be resolved. This is approximately 6% of the more than 650 defendants whose cases have not yet been adjudicated.

At least 105 defendants (14%) were or are associated with the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and Boogaloo Movement, while 77 expressed support for QAnon. In addition, 119 (16%) individuals have military backgrounds.