Proud Boys leader who burned BLM flag gets 5 months in prison

The leader of the extremist group Proud Boys was sentenced Monday to more than five months in prison for burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was torn from a historic black church in downtown Washington and brought two gun magazines to large-capacity fire in the nation’s capital days shortly before the January 6 riot.

Enrique Tarrio told the court he was “deeply” sorry for his actions, calling them “a serious mistake”.

“What I did was wrong,” Tarrio said during the video conference hearing.

Tarrio was arrested as he arrived in Washington two days before thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump – including members of the Proud Boys – descended on the United States Capitol and disrupted the certification of the vote. Electoral college. Tarrio was ordered to stay away from Washington, and law enforcement later said Tarrio was arrested in part to help quell potential violence.

Authorities say Proud Boys members stole the #BLACKLIVESMATTER banner from Asbury United Methodist Church on December 12, then set it on fire with lighter fluid and lighters. Tarrio posted a photo of himself holding an unlit lighter to his Talk account and admitted days later in an interview with the Washington Post that he was involved in the banner fire.

The Reverend Dr Ianther Mills, senior pastor of the church, told the judge that it was an “act of intimidation and racism” which caused “immeasurable and perhaps irreparable harm” to the community.

“His reckless act of violence and hatred, targeting a congregation of individuals with a lived history of social and racial injustice, had the presumably desired effect,” she said. “Asbury has been forced to reckon with very tangible proof that we continue to live in a world where people radicalize hatred on the basis of race and skin color.”

When police arrested Tarrio on January 4 on the signer’s warrant for vandalism, officers found two unloaded magazines emblazoned with the Proud Boys logo in his bag. Tarrio said, according to a police report, he was selling the clips and the ones he was carrying were bought by a customer.

Tarrio pleaded guilty last month to destroying property and attempting to possess a high capacity ammunition supply device.

A police spokesperson told The Associated Press in December that investigators were investigating the events as potential hate crimes, but no hate crime charges had been filed against Tarrio.

Members of the Proud Boys describe themselves as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists.” Its members frequently engaged in street fights with anti-fascist activists during rallies and demonstrations.

Authorities have focused on the Proud Boys and other extremist groups, such as the Oath Keepers, in their investigation into the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill that scared lawmakers and injured dozens of law enforcement officers. order.

Nearly 600 people have been indicted in the Capitol uprising, but some of the most serious charges – involving charges of planning to block certification of the vote – have been brought against members of extremist groups.

About three dozen of those charged have been identified by federal authorities as leaders, members or associates of the Proud Boys. In one case, four group leaders were accused of plotting to prevent President Joe Biden’s certification of victory. Tarrio was not charged in the attack on the Capitol.

It was recently revealed in court records that Tarrio worked undercover and cooperated with investigators after being charged with fraud in 2012. After Tarrio was indicted in 2012 for participating in a scheme involving the resale of Diabetic test strips he has helped the government prosecute more than a dozen other people, records show.

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About Jonathan J. Kramer

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