Henry “Enrique Tarrio, 37, of Miami, Florida was arrested on January 3, 2021 in Washington, D.C., on a warrant stemming from the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historic Black church during a demonstration on December 12, 2020.
Tarrio, the leader of the far-right Proud Boys, pleaded guilty to one count of destruction of property and a local weapons charge, according to a Department of Justice press release. Both chares are misdemeanors and each offense carries a maximum of 180 days in prison and/or a $1000 fine.
Tarrio’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 23, and the court has ordered him to stay away from Washington, D.C. until his hearing date.
The Proud Boys and other groups marched in a Pro-Trump rally through downtown Washington, D.C. The banner was stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the oldest Black churches in the area. Tarrio was charged that he was with a group of Proud Boys, who stole the banner that read #BLACKLIVESMATTER from the property of the church. The banner also had the logo and website address of the church, the city’s oldest Black Methodist church.
Appearing during Monday’s court hearing by video, Tarrio said he did not know where the banner came from. “If I would have known that the banner came from a church, it wouldn’t have been burned. I had nothing to do with the stealing of the banner.”
Superior Court Judge Harold Cushenberg offered to take himself off the case if Tarrio wished. “My oldest daughter was baptized in the church,” he said.
Tarrio responded, “Judge, that’s not necessary. You won’t need to recuse yourself.”