Aug 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Proud Boys leader gets more than 5 months in jail for burning BLM flag

Photo of Enrique Tarrio holding a megaphone and standing with other people with American flags
Photo: Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio was sentenced to over five months in jail on Monday for burning a Black Lives Matter banner during a pro-Trump demonstration last December, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: Tarrio was arrested on Jan. 4 after the Proud Boys and other far-right groups marched through Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12. Federal prosecutors say Tarrio bragged about burning the banner, which was taken from a historic Black church.

Details: Tarrio pleaded guilty in July to burning the banner and attempting to possess a high-capacity gun magazine, which he had on his person when he was arrested upon returning to D.C. for the Jan. 6 pro-Trump protests.

  • He claimed he didn't know the banner was stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church but showed no remorse about joining other Proud Boy members in setting it on fire, later saying on social media, "I'm damn proud I did it!"

Federal prosecutors recommended 90 days in prison, followed by three months of probation and an order barring his return to D.C., per NBC News.

  • They said his actions had a "profound emotional and psychological effect upon the church and its members."
  • Rev. Dr. Ianther Mills, a senior pastor at the church, called Tarrio's behavior "an act of intimidation and racism" at the sentencing hearing.
  • Both charges are punishable by up to six months in jail.

Though Tarrio apologized on Monday and said he made a "grave mistake" by burning the banner, Superior Court Judge Harold Cushenberg said Tarrio "did not credibly express genuine remorse" and sentenced him to 155 days in jail, according to NBC News.

  • He was ordered to surrender to the D.C. prison on Sept. 6.
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