Federal judge orders release of Auburn ‘Proud Boy’ charged in U.S. Capitol riot

SEATAC, Wash. — A local member of the Proud Boys will be released from the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac.

On Wednesday, a U.S. District Court judge ordered 30-year-old Ethan Nordean to house arrest in Auburn, with electronic monitoring. He will be released as early as Thursday.

Prosecutors flagged him as a leader of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Specifically, they accused him of making plans to “split up (rioters) into groups, attempt to break into the Capitol building from as many different points as possible, and prevent the Joint Session of Congress from Certifying the Electoral College results,” court documents said.

Prosecutors wanted Nordean held in custody until trial, calling him a flight risk, and said the “defendant poses a substantial risk of danger to the community.” However, a judge said while Nordean was indisputably a part of the assault on the Capitol, there was not enough evidence to warrant keeping him in custody pre-trial.

Nordean’s neighbors in Auburn say they had no idea of his involvement in the siege on the Capitol until the FBI raided his home last month, on February 3. They say agents showed up around 6 a.m.

Neighbors didn’t want to be identified but described what they heard and saw.

“I was awakened to a flashbang,” one neighbor said.

“We were awoken to a couple of booms,” another neighbor said. “My son is in his room and he’s like, ‘oh my God!’ Then we heard, you know, ‘Ethan Nodean, it’s the FBI,’” he said.

One neighbor called it “mass chaos” and said only Nordean’s wife was home when the raid happened, but Nordean was arrested a few hours later when he returned to the house.

Prosecutors accuse him of being one of the leaders in the insurrection. Photos from court documents show Nordean circled in red. On social media and among his circles, he goes by the name “Rufio Panman.”

The complaint says Nordean was “nominated from within to have ‘war powers’” and says he led the Proud Boys using “encrypted communications” through special two-way radios that have a wider range of frequencies than typical radios.

Photos show Nordean inside the Capitol building. Court documents also shared screenshots of Nordean’s extremist social media posts, from the past two years.

“Nothing would’ve pointed me to say he’s a little extreme,” a neighbor said. “That’s like sacred ground, you know? You just don’t go doing that kind of stuff,” one Auburn neighbor said.

Nordean’s father, Mike Nordean, is a business owner in Des Moines. On the website of Wally’s Chowder House, his dad wrote in part:

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.“”

Nordean will be released to house arrest in Auburn. The judge ordered all weapons must be removed, said he cannot leave Western Washington except for appearing in court in D.C., and he will be electronically monitored.

Nordean’s attorneys argued in court that prosecutors did not provide evidence that it was Nordean who gave out orders during the riot. They also said the special radio recovered in Nordean’s home was purchased after the insurrection.

If convicted of all charges, Nordean could face 30 years in federal prison.