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Proud Boys leader gets 5+ months in prison for burning BLM banner, carrying high-capacity magazine

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio on Sept. 26, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Michael Nigro/Sipa USA/TNS)
August 24, 2021

Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was sentenced on Monday to more than 5 months, 155 days, in prison on charges relating to two cases, including one in which he admitted to burning a Black Lives Matter banner.

According to the Department of Justice, Tarrio, 37, along with a group of individuals affiliated with the “Proud Boys” stole a Black Lives Matter banner from the Asbury United Methodist Church near 11th and K Streets NW on December 12, 2020. The banner also featured the church’s logo and website address.

After taking the banner, the group walked to the intersection of 11th and K and set it on fire using lighter fluid and lighters. Tarrio later posted a photo to his Parler account that shows himself with an unlit lighter next to the lit lighters in two other individual’s hands.

“In the days that followed, Tarrio admitted to burning the banner on social media and in comments to numerous media outlets,” the DOJ stated.

The Proud Boys leader returned to Washington, D.C., about a month later and was arrested on a warrant charging him with destruction of property.

“In a search of his book bag, conducted at the time of his arrest, police recovered two high-capacity firearm magazines. Each magazine bears the insignia of the ‘Proud Boys,’ the department wrote. “In an interview with police, Tarrio told detectives that he had intended to transfer the magazines to a customer who was also going to be present in the District of Columbia.”

Tarrio pleaded guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to one count of destruction of property and one count of “attempted possession of a large-capacity magazine.”

Judge Harold L. Cushenberry, Jr. sentenced Tarrio to 90 days of jail on the destruction of property charge and 150 days in jail on the magazine offense. The judge agreed to suspend all but 155 days of that time if Tarrio successfully completes three years probation.

Tarrio was also fined $1,000, in addition to $347 in restitution to the church. He is set to begin serving his sentence in two weeks.

“This court must respect the right of any citizen to peacefully assemble, protest, and make his or her views known on issues,” Cushenberry said, according to CNN. “But Mr. Tarrio’s conduct in these criminal cases vindicate none of these democratic values. Instead, Mr. Tarrio’s actions betrayed them.”

Tarrio apologized to the court and called his actions a “grave mistake.”

“I’d like to profusely apologize for my actions… what I did was wrong,” he said.