- Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio pleaded guilty to desecrating a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a Black church in Washington, DC.
- “It’s pretty simple. I’m guilty,” he told Insider in a phone interview on Monday.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio pleaded guilty on Monday to burning a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from the Asbury United Methodist Church, a historic Black church in Washington, DC.
Tarrio and members of the far-right Proud Boys and other supporters of former President Donald Trump marched through Washington, DC, in opposition to Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election on December 12.
The Proud Boys are alleged to have desecrated four churches, but Tarrio specifically pleaded guilty for a charge related to the Black Lives Matter banner.
He also pleaded guilty to a count of attempting to possess a high-capacity ammunition magazine in DC, which authorities discovered when he was stopped due to a search warrant, related to the banner burning charges, on January 4 – two days before Trump supporters including members of the Proud Boys stormed the Capitol.
Tarrio said he pleaded guilty to desecrating the flag because he wanted to take responsibility and put the case behind him.
“It’s pretty simple. I’m guilty,” he told Insider in a phone interview on Monday.
Tarrio said that the flag burning wasn’t a hate crime and that he didn’t do it because it was a church – or a church that was primarily attended by Black Americans.
He said he did it because he opposes the Black Lives Matter movement and what it stands for, noting that he feels it supports communist regimes like the one that persecuted his family in Cuba.
“I shouldn’t have done it. I shouldn’t have burned the banner, but I’m just explaining why I did it,” he told Insider.
Tarrio told Insider he wasn’t given any idea of the sentence he could face or if he was offered a lighter sentence if he took the guilty plea.
“I’m at the mercy of the court right now,” he said. “All I can do is pray.”
This story is developing. Check back for updates.