Proud Boy, Already Awaiting Trial, Allegedly Crashed His Boat While Drunk

Paul Rae is already facing charges in relation to the Capitol Hill riot. It's unclear how his Florida speedboat crash might affect his release status.
October 4, 2021, 4:03pm
Paul Rae's mugshot and the boat crash.
Paul Rae's mugshot and the boat crash. Images via the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. 

Saturday night didn’t end well for accused Capitol rioter and Proud Boy Paul Rae, as he was arrested for allegedly drunkenly crashing a speedboat into a small island off the Florida coast. 

Rae, 38, is currently on federal supervised release while awaiting trial for charges linked to storming the Capitol on Jan. 6. Nowhere in the order setting Rae’s terms of release did a judge say that getting arrested for alleged drunken boating was an acceptable activity while out on bond. 

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Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, was the first to note that Rae had been arrested and surface the arrest report by Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. 

The report says that at about 10 p.m. Saturday, multiple witnesses around the intercoastal waterway in Redington Shores observed a boat traveling northbound at a “high speed.” The boat crashed onto a small island, and was discovered by deputies “approximately 75 feet from the water line.” Deputies also found Rae and his passenger (who is still unidentified) on the small island. Neither was injured, but both showed “signs of impairment,” according to the report. They also included photos showing the boat nestled amid mangroves. 

Rae was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on one count of “boating under influence.” Penalties for a so-called “BUI” in Florida vary anywhere between a fine of $500, six months in jail, and five years in prison, according to how drunk the defendant was, whether it was their first conviction, and whether anyone was injured in the process. 

Rae’s boating blunder could also have a bearing on his pending federal case and release status. Under the terms of federal supervised release laid out by a judge, Rae is prohibited from violating federal, state, or local law. And while booze is OK, Rae was prohibited from using drugs, according to the federal release order (the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department told VICE News that Rae refused to be drug-tested). 

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He spent Saturday night in jail and was released at around 9 a.m. the next morning on his own recognizance. 

According to the federal complaint filed in March, Rae was among the first group of rioters to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6. Prosecutors say he came through the Capitol door (along with prominent Proud Boy organizer Joe Biggs, who is facing conspiracy charges) less than a minute after New York Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola smashed an adjacent window and let rioters through. Surveillance footage from inside the Capitol showed Rae and Biggs directly communicating once they entered the building. He also posed for selfies with Biggs earlier in the day, according to court documents, which note that he identified himself as a Proud Boy.

The Justice Department declined to comment on whether Rae’s arrest could impact his release status. Rae’s lawyers did not respond to VICE News’ request for comment.

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