- Far-right group Proud Boys’ leader Enrique Tarrio was arrested Monday in Washington, DC, on charges of destruction of property.
- The charges are connected to a mid-December protest that involved the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner belonging to a historically Black church in DC.
- Tarrio posted about burning the banner on the right-wing social media app Parler, saying he was “not ashamed of what I did because I didn’t do it out of hate…I did it out of love.”
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The leader of the far-right group Proud Boys was arrested Monday in Washington, DC, on charges of destruction of property, a spokesman for the DC Metropolitan Police Department confirmed.
Enrique Tarrio, the Proud Boys chairman, was arrested after he arrived in DC in relation to the burning a Black Lives Matter banner belonging to a historic Black church during a protest in downtown Washington, DC, on December 12.
“At the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of two high capacity firearm magazines,” according to the statement. “He was additionally charged with Possession of High Capacity Feeding Device.”
Police stopped a vehicle Tarrio was in as it entered the city from the airport, Dustin Sternbeck, a MPDC spokesman, told The Washington Post. The Proud Boys leader was charged with one misdemeanour count of destruction of property and two counts of possession of high capacity ammunition feeding devices, referring to magazines that allow firearms to hold additional bullets, according to The Post report.
Tarrio told The Post in a December interview that he burned the banner and would plead guilty to charges of destruction of property if the criminal charge was filed.
The Proud Boys leader also posted about burning the banner on social media.
“Against the wishes of my attorney I am here today to admit that I am the person responsible for the burning of this sign,” Tarrio wrote in a post on the social media app Parler, which is favoured by the far-right. “And I am not ashamed of what I did because I didn’t do it out of hate…I did it out of love.”
“Come get me if you feel like what I did was wrong,” he continued.
Representatives from the DC Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment.
A number of historically Black churches were vandalised during the DC protests in mid-December. Black Lives Matter banners belonging to Asbury United Methodist Church and Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church were taken down amid the protests.
The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church filed a lawsuit against the Proud Boys saying they engaged “in acts of terror and vandalizing church property,” Insider’s Rachel Greenspan reported.
The Proud Boys leader arrived in Washington, DC, in anticipation of another round of demonstrations on January 6, to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden. Tarrio posted on far-right message boards, saying that members of the far-right extremist group would “turn out in record numbers” and would roam around the city “incognito.”
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