Proud Boys leader arrested for burning BLM banner stolen from Black church

The alt-right group is also facing legal action for its role in a church theft in Washington, DC

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The Proud Boys have a lawsuit on their hands and its leader is now in police custody.

The male-only, far-right organization is being sued for damaging a Black Lives Matter sign at the historically Black Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Washington, D.C. The suit also includes the organization’s leader Enrique Tarrio.

Read More: Senate race thrusts ‘Black America’s church’ into spotlight

In a tweet by their lawyer, Kristen Clarke, the church announced the suit today.

Asbury United Methodist Church D.C. Proud Boys
Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Agnostic Preacher’s Kid, Creative Commons)

“We are suing the Proud Boys and their members for the racist attack on Metropolitan AME church in Washington DC,” per the announcement. “This attack was one of several levied against churches targeted for their support of the Black Lives Matter movement.”

On Dec. 12, the Proud Boys took part in a protest over Donald Trump losing the 2020 presidential election. Four churches were vandalized, including Metropolitan AME Church and Asbury United Methodist Church. Tarrio has admitted to burning a Black Lives Matter banner that belonged to Asbury United Methodist because he claimed BLM, “has terrorized the citizens of this country,” per The Washington Post.

Read More: Minnesota town with approved ‘whites-only’ church insists it isn’t racist

After the incident, in an opinion piece, Rev. William H. Lamar IV of Metropolitan AME  said the church will replace its BLM banner but says America needs to address its issues with racism.

“It mattered not that the land was ours. It mattered not that the sign was ours,” wrote the pastor in his op-ed for The Washinton Post. “The mythology that motivated the perpetrators on Saturday night was the underbelly of the American narrative — that White men can employ violence to take what they want and do what they want and call that criminality justice, freedom and liberty.”

The lawsuit says the Proud Boys should be held responsible for their actions and calls them out for attempting to intimidate those who seek to eradicate racial injustice.

People identifying themselves as members of the Proud Boys join supporters of President Donald Trump as they march Saturday Nov. 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“Black Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church is a historic Black church in the heart of Washington D.C.,” per the complaint. “It brings this suit against the Proud Boys, its leadership and certain of its members for engaging in acts of terror and vandalizing church property in an effort to intimidate the church and silence its support for racial injustice.”

USA Today journalist Will Carless said was talking to the Proud Boys leader when the call was cut off, suggesting he may have been arrested. Carless says Tarrio did not respond to numerous calls and texts after the fact. The Washington Post confirmed that Tarrio was indeed arrested for his role in the burning of Asbury’s BLM flag.

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