Proud Boys Leader Who Burned BLM Flag, Violated DC Gun Laws Sentenced to 5 Months in Prison

Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the leader of the far-right, neo-fascist hate group known as the Proud Boys, has been sentenced to 155 days behind bars for burning a Black Lives Matter flag in December and bringing high-capacity rifle magazines to Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

The sentence was delivered by Judge Harold Cushenberry Jr. of D.C. Superior Court during a Monday, Aug. 23 hearing. Tarrio has until Sep. 6 to surrender himself and begin his sentence.

Tarrio, 36, was arrested upon his arrival in Washington on Jan. 4, 2021, on suspicion of burning a BLM banner torn from a historic Black church in the nation’s capital during so-called Stop the Steal protests in December 2020 and charged with destruction of property. Upon his arrest, Tarrio was also found to be in possession of two high-capacity firearm magazines, which is illegal under the district’s strict gun control laws, and was subsequently charged with two felony counts of possession. He was granted pretrial release the following day and was prohibited from entering the District of Columbia except for court-mandated appearances.

The flag-burning incident occurred at the Asbury United Methodist Church on Dec. 12, shortly after the Proud Boys attended a pro-Trump rally held by the so-called Stop the Steal campaign, which later escalated into violence that resulted in several stabbings. Tarrio later took credit for the decision to vandalize church property, adding that he was “damn proud” to have done it.

“Against the wishes of my attorney I am here today to admit that I am the person responsible for the burning of this sign,” Tarrio wrote days later on Parler, the social media platform popular among the far-right. “And I am not ashamed of what I did because I didn’t do it out of hate … I did it out of love. Love for a country that has given my family SO MUCH. The burning of this banner wasn’t about race religion or political ideology it was about a racist movement that has terrorized the citizens of this country. I will not stand by and watch them burn another city.”

In July, Tarrio pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of destruction of property and attempted possessin of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device. He was not charged with a hate crime in relation to burning the BLM flag.

Prior to his sentencing, Tarrio spent the past few months calling for the release of Jan. 6 defendants and fellow Proud Boys members Joe Biggs and Ethan Nordean, the former of whom is accused of conspiring to disrupt the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6. Most recently, Tarrio posted to Telegram an image of protective gear, which included a bulletproof vest and a bag with a deckle that read “Join Your Local Militia,” and stated that he plans to speak at the “United We Stand” rally in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 22. That rally culminated in a melee and gunfight between far-right activists and antifascist demonstrators.

During the sentencing hearing on Monday, Tarrio’s attorney Lucas Dansie called his client a “man of moral character who respects the laws” and stated that Tarrio “Is extremely sorry for what he did.” After taking a moment t apologize to the court, Tarrio claimed that he has “suffered financially and socially” for his actions.

“My family’s business has been pretty hard,” Tarrio told Judge Cushenberry Jr. during the hearing.


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