Proud boy chief who burned a Black Lives Matter flag faces 5 months in jail: NPR

Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, seen in September 2020, was sentenced to five months in prison for actions taken during a trip to Washington, DC shortly before the January 6 riot. Allison Dinner / AP Hide caption

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Allison Dinner / AP

Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, seen in September 2020, was sentenced to five months in prison for actions taken during a trip to Washington, DC shortly before the January 6 riot.

Allison Dinner / AP

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 two high-capacity firearms magazines in the capital the country had brought days just before the January 6 uprising.

Enrique Tarrio told the court that he regretted his actions “deeply” and called them a “serious mistake”.

“What I did was wrong,” Tarrio said via videoconference during the hearing.

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Tarrio was arrested after arriving in Washington two days before thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump – including members of the Proud Boys – entered the U.S. Capitol and disrupted the certification of the electoral college. Tarrio was ordered to stay away from Washington, and law enforcement later said Tarrio was partially arrested to contain 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 picture of himself with an unlit lighter on his Parler account and admitted days later in an interview with the Washington Post that he was involved in the burning of the banner.

Pastor Dr. Ianther Mills, senior pastor of the Church, told the judge it was an “act of intimidation and racism” that caused “immeasurable and potentially irreparable harm” to the congregation.

“His carefree acts of violence and hate, directed against a community of people with a living history of social and racial injustice, had the likely desired effect,” she said. “Asbury faced very tangible evidence that we continue to live in a world where people radicalize hate based on race and color.”

When Tarrio police stopped the sign on 4 January on the vandalism arrest warrant, officers found two unloaded magazines with the Proud Boys logo in his pocket. Tarrio said a police report said he was selling the clips and the ones he was carrying were bought by a customer.

Tarrio pleaded guilty to property destruction and attempted possession of a large-scale ammunition feeder last month.

A police spokesman told The Associated Press in December that investigators are sounding the events as potential hate crimes, but no hate crime charges have been brought against Tarrio.

The Proud Boys members describe themselves as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists”. Its members have often got involved in street fights with anti-fascist activists at rallies and protests.

Authorities have the Proud Boys and other extremist groups like the Oath Keepers in their investigation into the Capitol attack on Sept.

Nearly 600 people were charged in the Capitol riot, but some of the most serious charges – including those of attempting to block voting certification – have been brought against members of the extremist groups.

About three dozen defendants have been identified by federal authorities as leaders, members or employees of Proud Boys. In one case, four squad leaders were charged with conspiring to prevent President Joe Biden’s victory from being confirmed. Tarrio was not charged in the attack on the Capitol.

Court records recently revealed that Tarrio had worked undercover and collaborated with investigators after he was accused of fraud in 2012. Following Tarrio’s 2012 indictment of participating in a diabetes test strip resale program, he helped the government of more than a dozen other people, the records show.

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