Proud Boys member testifies about group’s culture and celebration of violence



CNN
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The primary Proud Boy to take the stand within the seditious conspiracy trial in opposition to 5 fellow members of the far-right group informed the jury Tuesday how leaders of the group celebrated when their members acted violently, and the way that knowledgeable the best way the group fought collectively throughout the January 6, 2021, rebel.

Matthew Greene, from Syracuse, New York, testified after pleading responsible in December 2021.

“What I imagine was that when folks acted in violence folks didn’t again down, didn’t say you had been going too far,” Greene mentioned of Proud Boys management. “If something, it was celebrated.”

“There was a mantra that was informed to me,” he added, “we don’t begin s**t, we end it.”

Greene was by no means involved with the leaders of the Proud Boys, prosecutors say, and didn’t know of an specific plan to storm the constructing. However prosecutors allege he, together with defendant and fellow New Yorker Dominic Pezzola, performed an essential function as a part of the primary line of rioters who violently pushed by means of police boundaries.

The defendants – Enrique Tarrio, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, Pezzola and Ethan Nordean – have all pleaded not responsible.

Greene recounted for the jury how he felt when he noticed “propaganda movies” of the Proud Boys “road combating” on metropolis streets in 2020.

“I preferred the truth that they appeared to be standing as much as among the road violence, standing up for among the individuals who had been being harassed on the streets,” Greene mentioned. “In my thoughts it appeared like somebody defending the defenseless.” He then determined to hitch the group after the presidential election.

Greene defined to the jury what the method was wish to formally grow to be a low-level, or “first diploma” Proud Boy. He needed to write a brief essay on why he wished to hitch the group and what attributes he would convey, Greene mentioned, and ship in a video of himself saying the Proud Boys oath of “I’m a Proud Western Chauvinist and I refuse to apologize for creating the trendy world.”

As soon as he submitted his utility, Greene testified that he was informed to obtain the messaging app Telegram and decide a moniker (he selected “Publius,” as he had had simply completed studying the Federalist Papers).

Greene then needed to attend three “vetting conferences” and go to 1 rally earlier than he may very well be formally “voted in.” On his means house from pro-Donald Trump rally on December 12, 2020, Greene informed the jury, he was informed that the central New York chapter had voted, and he was now a first-degree Proud Boy.

In deciding to attend the December 12 rally, Greene testified that he and different members, together with Pezzola, had been “prepared and prepared” to be part of no matter may occur.

“There was by no means a concrete understanding of what that would imply, however there was plenty of conversations that Proud Boys had been taking a look at ourselves, a minimum of those I used to be speaking to, as being the tip of the spear if one thing was going to occur,” Greene mentioned.

Greene mentioned that he additionally took inventory of how the far-right group’s hierarchy operated throughout the December rally – his first occasion with the group.

“Within the Military you will have ranks or badges, no person had something like that” Greene, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, testified. “However folks had been clearly stepping as much as take management if issues had been getting out of hand, or if folks had been transferring within the unsuitable course.”

For those who didn’t defer to management, Greene testified, “there was going to be a bodily altercation.”

Throughout that December rally, one member of the Proud Boys, Jeremy Bertino, was stabbed. Greene recounted the fallout of the stabbing, saying that Pezzola had “taken his bike helmet and cracked the [attacker] over the top with it.”

“All of us, myself included, had been patting him on the again for what he had accomplished,” Greene informed the jury of Pezzola, including that he believed Pezzola had been making an attempt to get nearer to Proud Boys leaders like Enrique Tarrio. “He didn’t again down from the acclaim of it.”

After the December rally, Greene mentioned he began to really feel even “stronger opinions about the place issues had been as a rustic,” and that “each Proud Boy” he spoke to agreed. That understanding knowledgeable how he acted on January 6, Greene testified.

“I used to be by no means discouraged from something,” he mentioned. “Every part that I had accomplished with the Proud Boys on and earlier than January 6 led me to imagine that what I used to be doing was both implicitly or overtly accepted and inspired by the Proud Boys round me.”

Greene mentioned that when the barricades began to come back down across the Capitol on January 6, he felt that the Proud Boys’ “tip of the spear” second had arrived – although he by no means heard a particular plan to assault.

“My way of thinking at that time was believing that we had been on the verge of civil struggle, and this may very well be the opening a part of it,” Greene mentioned. “I wished to be shut.”

Greene mentioned that he and Pezzola had talked about how “the standard issues that had been happening to redress our grievances [with government] had been ineffective and weren’t working.”

“Based mostly on the occasions that I had seen over the summer time and over the previous few years, violence appeared to be getting a response,” Greene mentioned.

Greene will proceed his testimony tomorrow with cross-examination.