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Proud Boys leader pleads guilty in Black Lives Matter banner burning

Proud Boys Leader Arrest
Posted at 5:45 PM, Jul 19, 2021

Henry Enrique Tarrio, a leader in the extremist group the Proud Boys, has pleaded guilty Monday to burning a Black Lives Matter banner that had been stolen in mid-December from a historic church in Washington, D.C.

Tarrio also pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a high-capacity ammunition magazine, which is illegal in D.C.

Both charges are misdemeanors; he will be sentenced next month and could face up to a year in jail.

Investigators say four churches in D.C. were vandalized on Dec. 12, 2020, as the Proud Boys and other far-right groups marched through the capital in support of former President Donald Trump's false claims of election fraud.

The banner Tarrio admitted to burning was taken from Asbury United Methodist Church.

In an interview with the Washington Post, before he was arrested in connection with the destruction, Tarrio had offered to pay the church the cost of the banner. He told the paperburning the banner was not a hate crime, and he was not motivated by ideology. He said he thinks the Black Lives Matter movement "has terrorized the citizens of this country."

Tarrio was arrested on Jan. 4, just two days before a mob of Trump supporters violently rioted at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Arresting officers found the high-capacity ammunition magazines among his belongings, according to the Post.

Prosecutors wrote in the plea deal that these two charges are separate from any potential investigation and possible charges Tarrio may face in connection with the actions on Jan. 6.