Jul 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio pleads guilty to burning BLM banner

Photo of Enrique Tarrio wearing a shirt that says "Western chauvinism" and speaking into a speakerphone
Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, a leader of the right-wing extremist Proud Boys group, pleaded guilty Monday to burning a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a historic Black church in Washington, D.C., during a pro-Trump demonstration, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: Tarrio, 37, admitted to committing destruction of property and attempting to possess a high-capacity ammunition magazine. Under a deal with prosecutors, the latter charge was reduced from illegal possession of such magazines.

  • Appearing via video, Tarrio told the judge that he didn't know the banner had been stolen from Ashbury United Methodist Church, but showed no remorse about joining other Proud Boy members in setting it on fire, per the Post.

Catch up quick: Far-right groups marched through Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12 to protest President Biden's election win. They vandalized four D.C. churches that night, according to police.

  • Tarrio was arrested as he returned to D.C. on Jan. 4, two days before the Capitol insurrection, which several Proud Boys members have been linked to, according to law enforcement.
  • Police found two high-capacity ammunition magazines, which are compatible with AR-15 and M4 assault rifles, with Proud Boys symbols on them.
  • Tarrio, who has denied involvement in planning the insurrection, told police he had planned to deliver the magazines to a buyer who was in D.C. for the Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally, according to the Post.
  • Tarrio's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 23. The two offenses he pleaded guilty to are each punishable by up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine, the Post reported.

Worth noting: "[N]othing in the agreement is intended to prevent the government from bringing different or additional charges" against Tarrio in the future "based on his conduct on January 6th, 2021, or any other time," assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Courtney said in court Monday, per the Post.

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