Proud Boys leader who burned BLM banner sentenced to five months

Henry 'Enrique' Tarrio was sentenced to 155 days in a Washington, D.C. jail for the crime

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Henry (Enrique) Tarrio, leader of the far-right Proud Boys, is paying the price for burning a Black Lives Matter banner. On Monday, Aug. 23, Enrique was handed down a sentence of five months after he admitted to setting a stolen banner on fire.

The banner was removed from a historic Black church in Washington amid a pro-Trump demonstration in December 2020, NBC News reported.

Tarrio was arrested  Jan. 4 in Washington on an outstanding warrant.

On Dec. 12, 2020, The Proud Boys and similar groups marched in a chaotic rally through downtown Washington. The BLM banner was stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the oldest Black churches in the nation’s capital.

The 37-year-old Miami native also pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a high-capacity gun magazine, which is illegal in Washington. Investigators allege Enrique had the magazines with him when he returned to Washington for the Jan. 6 protests of the electoral vote count.

American Conservative Union Holds Annual Conference In Florida
Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys outside the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 27, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

His arrest came after Washington police were tipped off that Tarrio was planning to come to Washington for the event on Jan. 6, which turned into the storming of the Capitol by Trump protesters.

A sentence of 90 days in jail with an additional three months of probation post-release was recommended by federal prosecutors. It was also recommended that Tarrio be banned from returning to Washington. 

He was apologetic during the hearing, telling the judge that he made “a grave mistake” by burning the banner. “I profoundly apologize. I didn’t see the consequences of what I did,” he added.

Prosecutors said Tarrio’s burning of the banner “had profound emotional and psychological effect upon the church and its members.”

Despite his remorseful statements in court, he boasted about burning the banner on his social media pages, reportedly noting, “I’m damn proud I did it!”

Rev. Dr. Ianther Mills, the pastor of the church, spoke at the court hearing, calling the crime “an act of intimidation and racism.” She also said Tarrio treated his actions like “a trophy on social media.”

Prosecutors agreed, referencing video footage of Tarrio and others surrounding the church as evidence.

“He surely knew where he was,” the prosecution argued, “and where the banner he burned — which had Asbury’s name printed on it — had come from.”

A judge said Tarrio “did not credibly express genuine remorse.” He was sentenced to 155 days in jail and must surrender on Sept. 6, 2021 to do his time.

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