The far-right leader of the proud Boys was sentenced to more than five months this past Monday. Henry ” Enrique” Tarrio admitted that he burned a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historically Black church in Washington. He took these actions of racial intimidation during the middle of a pro-Trump rally in December.
The Proud Boys
Tarrio was arrested on January 4 in Washington, D.C. He had a warrant stemming from an incident on December 12. The Proud Boys in tandem with several other organizations marched obnoxiously through downtown. The banner was stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church. Asbury is one of the oldest Black churches in Washington.
Asbury United Methodist Church
37-year-old Tarrio is from Miami, FL. He pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a high-capacity gun magazine that is illegal in Washington. Investigators reported that he had the magazines with him when he returned to the city for the electoral vote count in Congress on January 6.
Both of Tarrio’s charges were misdemeanors. His actions were punishable by up to six months in jail.
At the federal level, prosecutors suggested a sentence of 90 days in jail followed by three months of probation. They added to this as a suggestion, an order forbidding him from returning to Washington. It was determined that his burning of the banner, “had a profound emotional and psychological effect upon the church and its members” Tarrio bragged publicly about it, saying on social media, “I’m damn proud I did it!”
“I’m damn proud I did it!” – Henry “Enrique” Tarrio; Leader of The Proud Boys
Rev. Dr. Ianther Mills, a senior pastor at Asbury spoke during the court hearing prior to the imposition of sentencing. The pastor called Tarrio’s actions “an act of intimidation and racism”. She said he treated his actions like “a trophy on social media.”
Tarrio said to the judge Monday that his actions were “a grave mistake” in reference to burning the Arbury Church’s banner. “I profoundly apologize. I didn’t see the consequences of what I did.”
Prosecutors said the video taken during the December demonstration exposed Tarrio on and around the church property while members of the Proud Boys stole the banner. “He surely knew where he was and where the banner he burned — which had Asbury’s name printed on it — had come from.”
A judge decides Tarrio’s expression of remorse is pretentious
Superior Court Judge Harold Cushenberg said Tarrio “did not credibly express genuine remorse” The same judge would sentence him to a total of 155 days. Tarrio was court-ordered to surrender to Washington’s jail on September 6.
At least three dozen members or followers of the Proud Boys have been charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, in which the guilty plea and sentence were unrelated. Documents filed by federal prosecutors indicate that Tarrio, also known as “The Chairman of the Proud Boys,” posted to social media announcing that the group was planning a “record turnout on January 6th.”
Washington Law Enforcement Officials
The government says other members of the group, who had been planning to rally during the electoral count when Congress met, took over planning after Tarrio’s was apprehended by authorities.
Federal law enforcement officials in Washington said police were informed that he was coming to Washington for the event and had been on the lookout for him; in preparation for his arrest for the burning of the Asbury Church banner. Black Americans have a painfully historic relationship with the burning of their churches. An action remotely similar carries the same historic implications of racism and intimidation.