Proud Boys member with local ties charged for role in Jan. 6 riots

Ethan Nordean faces charges of obstructing or impeding an official proceeding

The U.S. Department of Justice released this photo of Ethan Nordean, circled in red, during the Jan. 6 Capitol riots in Washington, D.C. COURTESY PHOTO, U.S. Department of Justice

The U.S. Department of Justice released this photo of Ethan Nordean, circled in red, during the Jan. 6 Capitol riots in Washington, D.C. COURTESY PHOTO, U.S. Department of Justice

A member of the Proud Boys with ties to Auburn and Des Moines was arrested and charged on Wednesday, Feb. 3 in federal court with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding and other charges related to the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

Ethan Nordean, aka Rufio Panman, 30, was charged by criminal complaint in federal court in the District of Columbia with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; aiding and abetting, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; and knowingly entering or remaining in restricted building or grounds and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, which each carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison, according to a Feb. 3 U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Nordean is from Auburn, according to several media reports. The U.S. Department of Justice listed Nordean as from Washington state, without listing a hometown.

Nordean is the son of Mike Nordean, owner of Wally’s Chowder House in Des Moines and Wally’s Drive-In in Buckley.

Mike Nordean posted a statement on Wally’s website.

“My son, Ethan, was arrested on Feb. 3 for his involvement in the Capitol siege,” Mike Nordean said. “We have tried for a long while to get our son off the path which led to his arrest today – to no avail. Ethan will be held accountable for his actions.

“I want to thank our customers for their continued grace and support. We appreciate it more than you know. I also want to thank all of the employees of Wally’s Restaurants for the care and respect they give our customers – and each other.”

Ethan Nordean appeared Feb. 3 in federal court in Seattle.

According to charging documents, Nordean is the self-described “Sergeant of Arms” of the Seattle Chapter of the Proud Boys, a group self-described as a “pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists.”

It is alleged that Nordean was observed marching at the front of a group of known Proud Boys shortly before the riot began. It is further alleged that Nordean was among those who entered the U.S. Capitol building after rioters, including certain persons associated with the Proud Boys, forced entry into the Capitol by means of destruction of federal property. It is also alleged that Nordean was near the front of the crowd of rioters, who collectively approached, confronted and vastly outnumbered Capitol Police.

Prior to Jan. 6, Nordean reportedly posted on social media certain indications of an intent to organize a group that intended to engage in conflict. For example, around Dec. 27, Nordean posted a message asking for donations of “protective gear” and “communications equipment.” On Jan. 4, Nordean posted a video on social media, which he captioned, “Let them remember the day they decided to make war with us.”

On or about the same day, Nordean posted a video of a discussion that Nordean had with another member of the Proud Boys. During the course of the hour long video, Nordean discussed what he described as “blatant, rampant voter fraud” in the presidential election, according to charging documents. Nordean went on to say that, rather than being complacent, the Proud Boys were going to “bring back that original spirit of 1776 of what really established the character of what America is. And it’s not complacency, it’s not low standards. It’s ‘this is how it’s going to be, and I don’t give a god damn.’” Later in the video, Nordean said, “Democracy is dead? Well, then no peace for you. No democracy, no peace.”

The day before the riots, Nordean posted the following statement to social media:

“It is apparent now more than ever, that if you are a patriot, you will be targeted and they will come after you, funny thing is that they don’t realize is, is we are coming for them. You’ve chosen your side, black and yellow teamed with red, white and blue against everyone else.”

On Jan. 8, Nordean posted a photo on social media of a U.S. Capitol Police officer administering pepper spray on Jan. 6, with the following caption: “if you feel bad for the police, you are part of the problem…”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason B.A. McCullough and James B. Nelson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Taryn Meeks of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Western District of Washington. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance by the FBI’s Seattle Division.

The ATF and FBI continue to urge the public to report suspected use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information can call 1-888-283-8477), email ATFTips@atf.gov or submit information anonymously via ReportIt.com.

The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at https://tips.fbi.gov/.

The charges contained in the complaint against Nordean are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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