ARLINGTON — A Snohomish County member of the violent hate group the Proud Boys played a front-line role in a mob of rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, as revealed by videos that have since been deleted from YouTube and the conservative social media site Parler.
Daniel Lyons Scott, 27, of the Arlington area, has not been charged with a crime for his actions in Washington, D.C., when hundreds of people tried to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory.
But in a video taken in the hours before the deadly assault, Scott was scolded by fellow Proud Boys for shouting that the group ought to “take” the Capitol.
Based on the distinctive clothing he wore that day, he appears to have been one of the first to clash with U.S. Capitol police in a final push to breach barriers around 1:40 p.m. on Jan. 6, shoving officers in riot gear like an offensive lineman and thereby allowing a mob to charge onto the Capitol steps. Several other Proud Boys surged forward in the stream of people. They were the first to smash their way into the building, climbing through shattered windowpanes, according to federal court records. Three central people from Scott’s group have since been charged with felonies.
Scott, however, was pushed back into the mayhem of the crowd. Under a flurry of punches, he retreated. The Daily Herald reviewed many videos scraped off Parler and posted by the investigative news website ProPublica, and it’s not clear if he ever got any closer to entering the building.
According to charges against fellow Proud Boy Dominic “Spaz” Pezzola, a confidential informant from within the group told federal authorities that people in Pezzola’s cohort planned to kill Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence, if they could find them.
Scott, a former Boeing employee, could not be reached for comment. He spoke with The Daily Herald two years ago when a Lake Stevens bar was vandalized, supposedly because a Proud Boys local chapter met there and posed for a photo. The picture was widely shared by activists seeking to identify local hate group members.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Scott did not respond to their multiple requests for comment when a video published by the newspaper identified him as someone who took part in a Proud Boy rendezvous just before the riot.
‘The new police’
The Proud Boys, a neo-fascist, men-only group founded in 2016, are openly misogynistic and believe in the superiority of a “Western, white, English-speaking way of life,” in the words of the group’s founder, Gavin McInnes. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers them a hate group, filing the Proud Boys under an idealogy of “general hate.”
Prominent members have claimed the Proud Boys simply believe in self-defense — but they have often been instigators, seeking out and escalating confrontations.
Members see themselves as part of a fraternity, trumpeting their masculinity while wearing black-and-yellow Fred Perry polo shirts. They have embraced political violence, loosely allying with other far-right groups such as the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers at political protests.
According to federal court records, such far-right groups were present in large numbers at the “Stop the Steal” rally hosted by then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 6. Last year, Proud Boy leaders were emboldened by a shoutout at a presidential debate when Trump declined to explicitly denounce hate groups, telling Proud Boys, in particular, to “stand back and stand by.”
On Jan. 6, Scott wore a blue ball cap stitched with the words, “God Guns & Trump.”
Thanks to extensive live-streaming by participants in the failed coup, many of Scott’s movements can be retraced up until he reached the Capitol steps.
Hours of live video were recorded by Hendrick “Eddie” Block, a California member of the Proud Boys who ran for Madera County supervisor last year. (He lost, taking 8% of the vote.) Block has since deleted nearly two hours of potentially incriminating YouTube footage shot from his motorized scooter. The video showed Scott and dozens of Proud Boys — some marked with orange tape or armbands — as they hyped themselves up before the attack.
Surrounded by a few raised news cameras, the men put arms around each other and knelt in prayer, then marched through the streets chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” “Do your job!” and “(Expletive) antifa!”
“They can smell the testosterone coming for them,” Block said to his viewers on YouTube.
Some in the group were clearly dressed for a fight, like Robert Gieswein, 24, a member of the Three Percenters who sported camouflage Army fatigues, a tan military-style vest, a stuffed backpack and a soldier’s helmet with the acronym “MAGA” across the back. He wielded a baseball bat. According to federal charges, Gieswein runs a “private paramilitary training group” in Woodland Park, Colorado.
They looked “like soldiers because we are soldiers,” Block said on the video. “We’re the new police around here.”
‘It was Milkshake, man’
At a break in the marching, Block chatted with Gieswein, then meandered over to another small circle of Proud Boys.
Scott is a big man, hard to miss even in a crowd of many other bearded white men. On Jan. 6, he looked even bigger because he was wearing a tactical vest under a green puffy jacket. Block bumped fists with him, calling him by his nickname, Milkshake.
“You can’t recognize this big huge beast?” Block said.
“Thought he was a tree!” someone else joked.
The dome of the Capitol was visible in the distance.
Two minutes later, as Proud Boys lined up for a photo op, Scott shouted, “Let’s take the (expletive) Capitol!”
“Let’s not (expletive) yell that, OK?” says a man dressed in all black, with a thin black neck scarf covering his face.
Another Proud Boy spoke into a megaphone.
“It was Milkshake, man,” said Ethan “Rufio” Nordean, of Auburn, Washington. “Idiot.”
Nordean has taken part in violent clashes with antifascist activists in the Pacific Northwest, most notably at a protest in Portland in 2018, when he threw a knockout punch that McInnes called “the beginning of the end of antifa.”
Leading the Proud Boys in Washington, D.C., was Joe Biggs, of Florida, who could be seen talking over a radio on various videos taken through the afternoon.
Biggs broke into a big smile when Scott shouted.
A couple of minutes later, Biggs said, “Where’s the (expletive) pisser at?”
“I think in (Senator Chuck) Schumer’s office!” someone shouted.
‘Stuff I don’t want to hear’
Block kept filming as the Proud Boys marched and chanted again, with Nordean and Biggs in the lead. They paused by a row of food trucks. There, Block filmed Scott with his jacket unzipped, a pair of goggles dangling against his vest, talking in hushed voices with Nordean and a few other men. Block rolled up to them and joked twice that his viewers would pay to see Nordean strip off his clothes, and they’d also pay for Scott to put more clothes on. Nobody laughed or even cracked a smile. They kept talking in a tone of serious business.
“I better get out of here, you guys are talking about stuff I don’t want to hear,” Block said.
A little while later, around 1:45 p.m., Scott appeared on a Parler video at the front of a mob that had broken through police barriers outside the west entrance to the U.S. Capitol.
He powered forward into a line of police officers on the steps. As Scott was pushed back, the dam burst and people flooded forward. Scott barreled back through the sea of people, and his hat flipped partly off his head, bringing the “God Guns & Trump” logo into view for a few quick frames.
Federal charges against Pezzola show an image from the same video: the defendant racing up the steps where Scott had been seconds earlier. In another video, Gieswein sprayed a black canister of something at police, according to charges against him.
Footage shows a man identified as Pezzola using a police riot shield to break out a window and climb into the Capitol. Gieswein jumped through the window right after him, along with others.
The two were later filmed together parading through the building. Federal court records say a video posted to social media showed Pezzola smoking a “victory” cigar inside.
“I knew we could take this (expletive) over (if we) just tried hard enough,” he said.
Proud Boys arrested
Pezzola, 43, of New York, was arrested Jan. 15 and charged with destruction of government property. Federal agents searched his home and found a thumb drive with instructions on making homemade guns, poisons and bombs, according to court records. On Friday, prosecutors announced Pezzola had been indicted on further charges of conspiracy; civil disorder; aiding and abetting civil disorder; robbery of property of the United States; assaulting, resisting and impeding officers; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building; and other crimes.
Gieswein was charged Jan. 16, with assaulting federal officers, obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and other felonies relating to unauthorized entry into the Capitol. He surrendered to Colorado police that weekend.
An FBI report noted Gieswein had spoken to a reporter about his desire to imprison “the corrupt politicians that have been in office for 50 to 60 years.” He talked specifically about Pelosi, Biden and Kamala Harris.
Proud Boys from around the nation have also been arrested for their alleged actions that day, including one from Hawaii and at least two from Florida.
The Wall Street Journal report, sifting through the massive trove of amateur video from that day, concluded “at every key breach of the Capitol’s defenses, the Proud Boys and members of their contingent are at the forefront of the mob.”
Biggs, 37, became a focal point that day in large part because the Proud Boys’ chairman, Enrique Tarrio, 36, of Miami, had been banned from the District of Columbia due to another violent protest two days earlier, on Jan 4. Tarrio was accused of burning a Black Lives Matter banner torn off a historically Black church.
Last week, Reuters reported Tarrio worked as a prolific informant for the FBI in the early 2010s, helping prosecutors convict more than a dozen people in cases involving drugs and gambling.
‘Drinking with boys’
On Jan. 22, Block posted a video titled, “Well I was raided by the FBI,” in which he said about 25 federal agents showed up at his home with a warrant to seize his computers, cameras, a cellphone, Xbox, iPad and even the cable box. He said they told him he wasn’t under investigation for committing a crime.
“They wanted everything I had, which — I don’t care,” he said, “there’s nothing bad on any of my computer stuff.”
He said the officers were “very nice” to him and even offered to supply him with a new phone.
Unless they are charged in sealed cases, Scott and Nordean have not been accused of a crime in federal court.
Over the past few years, Scott has made the rounds at Proud Boy events across the Pacific Northwest. He took part in a Spokane protest against Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order in May. The Proud Boys claimed responsibility for knocking down crosses that were set up in counterprotest as a memorial for pandemic victims.
A Proud Boy who appears to be Scott also showed up to Snohomish weeks later, when false rumors that antifa was going to loot downtown led to a massive armed citizen response. Many other small cities saw almost identical hoaxes put on by a white nationalist group, amid Black Lives Matter protests.
The YouTube channel All Gas No Brakes featured interviews with Scott, Tarrio and Biggs at a Portland rally in October. Scott explained why he joined the Proud Boys: “Truthfully it’s just the Western world, like, I appreciate it, and I like drinking, I like drinking with boys.”
Many people at the riot believed in debunked conspiracy theories asserting that Trump won the election, but it was stolen from him when the votes were counted.
Public records show Scott voted in the presidential primary in 2020. He did not vote in November.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.