Federal prosecutors unsealed charges on Friday against a veteran police officer in Washington, accusing him of obstructing justice by leaking law enforcement information to Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the Proud Boys.
Prosecutors say that the officer, Shane Lamond, 47, told Mr. Tarrio that he would not face hate crime charges after a group of Proud Boys under his command burned a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church in Washington after a pro-Trump rally in the city in December 2020. The episode took place weeks before the far-right group played a central role in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.
Mr. Lamond, who worked as an intelligence expert for the Metropolitan Police Department, was suspended from his job as an investigation into his ties to Mr. Tarrio moved forward. He also gave Mr. Tarrio advance notice that he would be arrested in connection with the banner-burning episode in early January 2021 as he returned to Washington for the events of Jan. 6.
Mark E. Schamel, a lawyer for Mr. Lamond, declined to comment on the charges.
Prosecutors began examining Mr. Lamond and Mr. Tarrio’s relationship after the Capitol attack, when a group of about 200 Proud Boys helped lead a pro-Trump mob in breaching barricades and ultimately disrupting the congressional certification of the 2020 election results.
Mr. Tarrio and three of his lieutenants were convicted this month of seditious conspiracy in connection with the attack.
According to an indictment filed against Mr. Lamond in Federal District Court in Washington, Mr. Tarrio provided him information about the Proud Boys’ plans to descend on Washington on Jan. 6. In a text to Mr. Lamond on Dec. 19, 2020 — the same day President Donald J. Trump posted a tweet summoning his followers to the city for what he called a “wild” protest — Mr. Tarrio said that the Proud Boys’ participation in the Jan. 6 event would be “extremely small” and that members of the group would not be wearing their traditional black-and-yellow uniforms.
The two men had been in contact since July 2019 and corresponded regularly after the 2020 election, with Mr. Tarrio often providing notice about plans to bring his group to rallies in support of Mr. Trump. Mr. Lamond “regularly provided sensitive law enforcement information” in return, the indictment said, including guidance about their movements and those of anti-Trump protesters in Washington.
The exchanges, often through encrypted messaging, suggest the extent to which Mr. Tarrio and other Proud Boys leaders cultivated relationships with members of law enforcement, especially in cities where they were planning rallies.
Even after Jan. 6, Mr. Tarrio and Mr. Lamond continued to communicate about the legal fallout from the riot, exchanging reactions to the violence and trading information about the larger investigation. Texts included in the indictment show that Mr. Tarrio, who had also passed along information to the F.B.I. and Florida police officers in the past, appeared to have kept a similarly close and cooperative relationship with Mr. Lamond.
“I think I could have stopped this whole thing,” Mr. Tarrio texted on Jan. 7, before offering to help the police arrest someone in connection with the riot.
“Let me know if she’s on your list,” Mr. Tarrio wrote. “I’ll have her turn herself in.”
“Looks like the feds are locking people up for rioting at the Capitol,” Mr. Lamond texted back on Jan. 8. “I hope none of your guys were among them.”
In addition to obstructing the investigation into Mr. Tarrio, Mr. Lamond had deliberately misrepresented the conversations to investigators, prosecutors said. Mr. Lamond described the exchanges as “one-sided” and as routine intelligence-gathering when he had often reached out to Mr. Tarrio with privileged details about Metropolitan Police Department activities.
Lawyers for Mr. Tarrio sought to call Mr. Lamond a defense witness at the sedition trial, but Mr. Schamel told them that if Mr. Lamond were called to testify, he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Mr. Tarrio’s legal team then tried to have Judge Timothy J. Kelly confer immunity on Mr. Lamond and compel him to take stand, but the judge refused to do so.
Unable to obtain Mr. Lamond’s live testimony, Mr. Tarrio’s lawyers chose to introduce several of the text messages the two men exchanged in an effort to show that they were in close contact with each other in the run-up not only to Jan. 6 but also to other pro-Trump events in Washington that preceded it.
The lawyers were hoping to persuade the jury that Mr. Tarrio could not have been planning a seditious plot against the government while actively keeping a veteran police officer in the loop about the Proud Boys’ activities.
“I am shocked and disgusted to see that the government used certain information in the indictment against Lt. Shane Lamond that was not allowed to be introduced in our trial,” said Nayib Hassan, a lawyer for Mr. Tarrio.