Police officer charged with lying about leaks to Proud Boys leader

Shane Lamond
Washington Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Shane Lamond departs federal court after pleading not guilty to obstruction of justice and other charges, Friday, May 19, 2023, in Washington. Lamond is accused of lying about leaking confidential information to a leader of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group and obstructing an investigation after group members destroyed a Black Lives Matter banner in Washington. (Image: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A Washington, D.C. police officer was arrested Friday on charges that he lied about leaking confidential information to Proud Boys extremist group leader Enrique Tarrio and obstructed an investigation after group members destroyed a Black Lives Matter banner in the nation’s capital.

An indictment alleges that Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Shane Lamond, 47, of Stafford, Virginia, warned Tarrio, then national chairman of the far-right group, that law enforcement had an arrest warrant for him related to the banner’s destruction.

Tarrio was arrested in Washington two days before Proud Boys members joined the mob in storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Earlier this month, Tarrio and three other leaders were convicted of seditious conspiracy charges for what prosecutors said was a plot to keep then-President Donald Trump in the White House after he lost the 2020 election.

A federal grand jury in Washington indicted Lamond on one count of obstruction of justice and three counts of making false statements. A magistrate judge ordered Lamond’s release from custody after he pleaded not guilty to the charges during his initial court appearance Friday.

MORE ABOUT THE JAN. 6 INSURRECTION

The indictment accuses Lamond of lying to and misleading federal investigators when they questioned him in June 2021 about his contacts with Tarrio. The indictment also says Tarrio provided Lamond with information about the Jan. 6 attack.

“Looks like the feds are locking people up for rioting at the Capitol. I hope none of your guys were among them,” Lamond told Tarrio in a Telegram message two days after the siege.

“So far from what I’m seeing and hearing we’re good,” Tarrio replied.

“Great to hear,” Lamond wrote. “Of course I can’t say it officially, but personally I support you all and don’t want to see your group’s name and reputation dragged through the mud.”

Lamond was placed on administrative leave by the police force in February 2022.

Lamond, who supervised the intelligence branch of the police department’s Homeland Security Bureau, was responsible for monitoring groups like the Proud Boys when they came to Washington.

Lamond declined to comment. His attorney, Mark Schamel, released a statement Friday saying, “Lt. Lamond is a decorated officer whose position required contact with extremist groups who sought to undermine our democracy on January 6th, yet he does not, nor has he ever, supported their views.”

Schamel added that “the jury will see the fallacy of these unfairly levied allegations when the evidence is presented.”

Schamel has previously said that Lamond’s job was to communicate with a variety of groups protesting in Washington, and his conduct with Tarrio was never inappropriate. His lawyer told The Associated Press in December that Lamond is a “decorated veteran” of the police department and “doesn’t share any of the indefensible positions” of extremist groups.

The Metropolitan Police Department said Friday that it would do an internal review after the federal case against Lamond is resolved.

“We understand this matter sparks a range of emotions, and believe the allegations of this member’s actions are not consistent of our values and our commitment to the community,” the department said in a statement.

Lamond’s name repeatedly came up in the Capitol riot trial of Tarrio and other Proud Boys leaders. Tarrio’s defense sought to use messages showing that Tarrio was informing Lamond of the Proud Boys plans in Washington in order to support Tarrio’s claims that he was looking to avoid violence, not create it.

Text messages introduced at Tarrio’s trial appeared to show a close rapport between the two men, with Lamond frequently greeting the extremist group leader with the words “hey brother.”

Tarrio’s lawyers had wanted to call Lamond as a witness, but were stymied by the investigation into Lamond’s conduct and his lawyer’s contention that Lamond would claim Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The defense accused the Justice Department of trying to bully Lamond into keeping quiet because his testimony would hurt their case — a charge prosecutors vehemently denied.

The indictment is the latest sign the Justice Department is moving forward in cases against people whose alleged conduct was uncovered in the massive Jan. 6 investigation, beyond the rioters themselves. More than 1,000 people have been charged with participating in the attack on the Capitol, but investigators have also been examining broader efforts by Trump and his allies to undermine the 2020 election.

Prosecutors say Lamond and Tarrio communicated at least 500 times across several platforms about things like the Proud Boys’ planned activities in Washington over a roughly year and a half.

Tarrio is expected to be sentenced in August. His lawyer, Nayib Hassan, declined to comment Friday on Lamond’s indictment, but said he was “shocked and disgusted” that the government used information in the case against Lamond that Tarrio’s defense was not allowed to show jurors at trial.

Lamond began using the Telegram messaging platform to give Tarrio information about law enforcement activity around July 2020, about a year after they started talking, according to prosecutors. By November of that year, he was talking about meeting Tarrio during a night out.

In December 2020, Lamond told Tarrio about where competing antifascist activists were expected to be. Lamond, whose job entailed sharing what he learned with others in the department, asked Tarrio whether he should share the information Tarrio gave him about Proud Boys activities, prosecutors said.

Jurors who convicted Tarrio heard testimony that Lamond frequently provided the Proud Boys leader with internal information about law enforcement operations in the weeks before other members of his group stormed the Capitol.

Less than three weeks before the Jan. 6 riot, Lamond warned Tarrio that the FBI and U.S. Secret Service were “all spun up” over talk on an Infowars internet show that the Proud Boys planned to dress up as supporters of President Joe Biden on the day of the inauguration.

In a message to Tarrio on Dec. 25, 2020, Lamond said police investigators had asked him to identify Tarrio from a photograph. Lamond warned Tarrio that police may be seeking a warrant for his arrest.

Later, on the day of his arrest, Tarrio posted a message to other Proud Boys leaders that said, “The warrant was just signed.”

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By Michael Kunzelman, Lindsay Whitehurst and Alanna Durkin Richer
Durkin Richer contributed to this story from Worcester, Massachusetts.

Source:  Associated Press apnews.com

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