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Justice Department charges 2 men alleged to have marched with Proud Boys on January 6 and led charge at US Capitol

<i>Samuel Corum/Getty Images</i><br/>Federal prosecutors have accused two men of having ties to a Proud Boys leader and being among the first to breach the police line near the US Capitol on January 6.
Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Federal prosecutors have accused two men of having ties to a Proud Boys leader and being among the first to breach the police line near the US Capitol on January 6.

By Marshall Cohen

Federal prosecutors have accused two men of having ties to a Proud Boys leader and being among the first to breach the police line near the US Capitol on January 6.

James Haffner, 53, of South Dakota and Ronald Loehrke, 30, of Georgia were arrested and charged this week with a felony for obstructing police during a civil disorder. Haffner was additionally charged with assaulting federal officers for allegedly spraying police with an unidentified aerosol while they guarded the Capitol doors. They haven’t yet entered a plea.

Prosecutors say Loehrke texted with far-right Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean prior to January 6. According to court filings, Nordean told Loehrke he wanted him “on the frontline” of the protest in Washington. Loehrke said he would be there and that he’d bring three “bad motherf***ers.” (Nordean pleaded not guilty in a separate but related Proud Boys conspiracy case.)

The complaint against Loehrke and Haffner said they marched with Proud Boys to the Capitol and were among the first to overrun police on the building’s west side. It alleges they later moved to the east side and dismantled barricades there, helping the mob flood the area. When Haffner encountered police guarding the Capitol doors, he allegedly sprayed them with an aerosol.

Lawyers for the two men didn’t answer CNN’s request for comment on Saturday.

Investigators said they were able to identify Haffner in part because of a photo his wife posted to social media with Sidney Powell, a controversial right-wing attorney who worked with former President Donald Trump to contest the 2020 election results and is known for spreading outlandish conspiracy theories. Haffner’s wife said in a Facebook post, cited in the DOJ’s court filing, that he met Powell at a rally in South Dakota.

Both men were released pending trial. A few dozen people with ties to the Proud Boys have been charged in connection with January 6, and some of the group’s leaders are currently in jail.

Loehrke is the first person from South Dakota to be charged with federal crimes related to the riot. The Justice Department has prosecuted rioters from 46 states and Washington, DC.

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  1. According to the chairman of the Oregon GOP this was a false flag operation so trump kooks will be rejoicing to see 600 people being prosecuted for the insurrection!!! Soooooo much failing for pathetic trump borg!!!! Trump / Putin 2024!!!

  2. That’s great, I fully support this, there should be many more charged, what’s taking so long, why must they drag this on and on? Now, what’s the hold up on charging BLM rioters?

    1. – well you see – the MAGA crowd was dumb enough to commit crimes against our country, actual crimes, and display their bad choices on social media – why do you continue to try to distract from that?

    1. Attacking the U.S. Capitol will be a federal case whereas attacking a local coffee shop will be a state charge. Sounds like you’ve done the research, what are the numbers for rioters arrested at the local level? (Hint: it’s many thousands).

        1. Yes, and? You’re the one implying law enforcement is giving rioters preferential treatment compared to insurrectionists, so you tell us. How many rioters attacked federal buildings but were not arrested because of whatever conspiracy theory you are spouting?

  3. In the words of terrorist sympathizer representative Illhan Omar. “Some people did some things”. Regarding 9/11. Hypocrisy at it’s finest. The left will throw the book at anyone that doesn’t fit their agenda. And then essentially deny 3000 people dying at the hands of Muslim terrorists. This doj and current administration are as corrupt as it gets. Anyone thay doesn’t see it is either blind, dumb, or ignorant.

  4. This was a non-story fueled by fake outrage pushed and promoted by Chris Cuomo at CNN- I find it predictable that his firing in disgrace has eluded these CNN portals. Where’s the outrage over the (accusations) Cuomo bros history of groping harassing and fondling women- even the CNN female anchors have gone quiet ! Trump must be laughing his tail off- probably enjoying a box of cookies he just grabbed off the table !

  5. Perfectly fine to draw a moral equivalency between those who stormed the capital and those who rioted and looted under the guise of protesting last year. The intent for each may have been apples and oranges, but the results were the same; a demoralized public sentiment over the government’s failure to protect us from violence, and an overwhelming anger at those responsible for the mayhem.

  6. the sentences so far are trespassing, etc. nothing related to an insurrection.
    however, the time they are having the serve seems excessive to say the least.
    the guy with the horns was kept in jail for 3 years, mainly in solitary, and got sentenced to 3 years, that he has to serve. no time served for him.
    heck – there are murderers who serve less time.

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