Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves the far right white supremacists group the Proud Boys.
The leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested by Washington D.C. police Monday afternoon on a warrant charging him with burning a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historic Black church during a demonstration last month, according to officials.
Police stopped a vehicle Tarrio had been in after it entered the District, said Dustin Sternbeck, a D.C. police spokesman. He said it is believed that Tarrio, who lives in Miami, was coming into the District from the airport. Sternbeck said Tarrio is charged with one misdemeanor count of destruction of property in connection with the December 12 burning of a banner stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church. Tarrio had told The Washington Post last month that he was among those who burned the banner.
Authorities described the burning of the banner as a potential hate crime. Sternbeck said it would be up to prosecutors to determine whether to file hate crime charges, which could increase the penalty.
Tarrio last month told The Post that he would plead guilty to destruction of property, pay the church the cost of the banner and surrender to authorities if a criminal charge were filed. Tarrio said he would not admit to committing a hate crime.
He said he was not motivated by race, religion or political ideology, but because he believes the Black Lives Matter movement “has terrorized the citizens of this country.” in an interview with the post. Police have said four churches were vandalized the night of December 12 as the Proud Boys and other groups marched through downtown.
Tarrio claims that his supporters reacted to being attacked. It was during this time that Black Lives Matter signs were taken from Asbury United Methodist Church and Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, both historically Black houses of worship. The banner that Tarrio said he participated in burning was taken from Asbury United Methodist, one of the oldest Black churches in the city, at 11th and K streets NW.
Tarrio has also said he does not know who tore down the banner, and that neither he nor his members knew the church is predominantly African American. “We didn’t Google the church and go, ‘Oh, it’s a Black church, let’s target it,’ ” Tarrio said. “The sign was taken down because of what it represents.”
D.C. police have classified the burning as a destruction of property, a misdemeanor when damage is under $1,000. It is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Tarrio could appear Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court. Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in the District could modify the charges brought by police.