News & Politics

Proud Boys Leader Pleads Guilty in Burning of BLM Banner at a Historic DC Church

Enrique Tarrio had been arrested earlier this year when he returned to DC.

Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio. Photograph by Evy Mages

Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio pleaded guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia today to destruction of property in connection with the theft of a Black Lives Matter banner from a local church, and to a second charge of attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition magazine.

In December 2020, a group of people in town for a MAGA march stole a BLM banner from the Asbury United Methodist Church; Tarrio, 37, of Miami, posted a picture of himself holding an unlit lighter near the banner to his Parler account. He admitted to burning the banner on social media and in comments to news outlets. Four churches were vandalized that night, and the historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church filed a lawsuit against the Proud Boys and Tarrio in January, citing acts of terror.

When he returned to DC on Jan. 4, 2021, Tarrio was arrested on a warrant. His book bag was searched, and police found two high-capacity firearm magazines, each with the Proud Boys’ badge. He told detectives he was going to transfer the magazines to a customer.

Each offense has a maximum of 180 days in prison, and/or a $1,000 fine. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 23, 2021. Until then, Tarrio must stay away from DC per a court order.