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Proud Boys leader sentenced to 5 months in prison on weapons and vandalism charges

Proud Boys leader arrested in Washington
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio arrested in Washington, D.C. 00:45

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced Monday to more than five months in prison for burning a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a church in Washington, D.C., and for carrying two high-capacity firearm magazines when he was arrested weeks later, the Department of Justice said. 

Tarrio pled guilty to one count of destruction of property and one count of attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device in July. Tarrio said Monday that there was "no excuse" for his actions, adding that he made "a grave mistake" that day. 

"I'd like to profusely apologize," he said, adding, "What I did was wrong."

But D.C. Superior Court Judge Harold Cushenberry was not convinced. 

"Mr. Tarrio has clearly, intentionally, and proudly crossed the line from peaceful protest and assembly to dangerous and potentially violent conduct," the judge said. "He could not have cared less about the laws of the District of Columbia."

Henry "Enrique" Tarrio
Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, in Miami on July 16, 2021. EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty

The charges stemmed from a December 12, 2020, incident when a group of Proud Boys members, including Tarrio, stole a banner reading "#BLACKLIVESMATTER" from the Asbury United Methodist Church, doused it in lighter fluid, and set it ablaze, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia said.  

Tarrio posted a picture of himself holding an unlit lighter next to two lit lighters, and admitted to burning the banner on social media and in comments to news outlets, prosecutors said. 

Tarrio was arrested when he returned to D.C. from Florida on January 4, 2021, two days before the assault on the U.S. Capitol. While searching his book bag, police found the two firearm magazines, each of which bore the insignia of the Proud Boys, prosecutors said. He allegedly told detectives that he planned to give the magazines to someone in D.C. The day after his arrest, Tarrio was ordered to stay away from D.C.

Cushenberry sentenced Tarrio to 90 days for the destruction of property charge and 150 for attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device but suspended all but 155 days of the sentence on the condition that Tarrio serves three years probation, the DOJ said. He will also be required to pay $1,000 in fines and $347 to the church. 

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