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Updated from original story: August 23, 2021 4:30pm
On Monday in federal court Superior Court Judge Harold Cushenberg sentenced Proud Boys leader, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, to 155 days in jail for burning the Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historic Black church in Washington D.C. last December.
Tarrio told the judge Monday that he made “a grave mistake” by burning the banner. “I profoundly apologize. I didn’t see the consequences of what I did.”
A senior pastor at the church, the Rev. Dr. Ianther Mills, spoke during the court hearing before the sentence was imposed. She called Tarrio’s conduct “an act of intimidation and racism” and he treated his action as “a trophy on social media.”
Tarrio was ordered to surrender to the Washington D.C. jail on September 6.
The national leader of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, pleaded guilty to multiple charges following his role in burning a Black Lives Matter flag in Washington D.C. last December.
Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, 37, of Miami, Fl. pleaded guilty to two charges, one involving burning a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church and the other charge of attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device, according to the U.S. Attorney Office’s press release.
On the evening of December 12, 2020, a group of Proud Boys members, including Tarrio, were at the location of Asbury United Methodist Church. Members of the group stole the banner which had the words “#BLACKLIVESMATTER” on it as well as the church’s logo and website address.
The group took the banner a few blocks away and ignited it with lighters and lighter fluid. Tarrio posted a picture to his Parler account with him crouched down next to the banner with a lighter in his hand depicting him setting it on fire. In the following days he admitted on social media that he burned the banner.
Tarrio returned to Washington D.C. on January 4, 2021, two days before the Capitol insurrection, and was arrested on a warrant charging him with the Dec. 12, 2020 incident. In a search at the time of his arrest, police recovered two high-capacity firearm magazines. Each magazine had the insignia of the Proud Boys on it. Tarrio told detectives that he intended to transfer the magazines to a customer who was going to be present in D.C.
In March, charges were brought against four remaining leaders of the Proud Boys for their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. The indictment stated that the men orchestrated a strategy to overwhelm Capitol Police and target weakly guarded entrances to the building.
Tarrio’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 23, and the court has ordered him to stay away from Washington D.C. before his hearing.