Proud Boys Leader Sentenced To Prison For Burning Black Lives Matter Banner
Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to 155 days in jail.
August 23, 2021 at 10:13 pm
As Blavity previously reported, Tarrio was involved in a pro-Trump demonstration in downtown Washington, D.C. on Dec. 12 when he removed and burned a Black Lives Matter banner that belonged to Asbury United Methodist Church, a historically Black congregation in Washington, D.C.
"This court must respect the right of any citizen to peacefully assemble, protest, and make his or her views known on issues," Judge Harold L. Cushenberry Jr. of the DC Superior Court said, CNN reported. "But Mr. Tarrio's conduct in these criminal cases vindicate none of these democratic values. Instead, Mr. Tarrio's actions betrayed them."
Tarrio pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges, one including attempting to possess a high-capacity gun magazine, which is illegal in Washington, D.C.
The 37-year-old, who bragged on social media following the incident and boasted “I’m damn proud I did it!” told Judge Cushenberry that he made "a grave mistake" by burning the banner.
"I profoundly apologize. I didn't see the consequences of what I did,” he said, NBC News reported.
Federal prosecutors initially suggested that Tarrio complete a 90-day sentence in addition to three months of probation and prohibit him from entering Washington, D.C. He returned to the city to partake in the Capitol riots on Jan. 6 but was thwarted by federal law enforcement officials and arrested on Jan. 4.
"He surely knew where he was and where the banner he burned — which had Asbury's name printed on it — had come from,” prosecutors said.
During the hearing, Asbury United Methodist Church pastor, Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills, said that the incident took a huge emotional and psychological toll on church members and condemned Tarrio’s actions as blatantly racist.
She added that Tarrio led a "marauding band of angry white men… apparently looking for trouble.”
“In our opinion, this was an act of intimidation and racism," she said.
Tarrio also added that not only were church members affected, but he has suffered as well in various aspects of his life.
"I have suffered financially, socially, for what I've done,” he argued. “My family's business has been hit pretty hard. So, what I did doesn't only affect the church. It affects a lot more people, including my family."
Despite his plea, the judge rendered Tarrio’s apology as unremorseful and referred to his concession as a "bald, self-serving assertion."
"He could not have cared less about the laws of the District of Columbia," Cushenberry said. "He cared about himself and self-promotion…His claim of 'innocent mistake' is not credible at all."
Ultimately, Tarrio was sentenced to 155 days in prison.