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Proud Boys leader charged for burning BLM flag, released from jail but banned from Washington

Henry "Enrique" Tarrio will be arrested immediately if spotted in Washington, DC. He has been ordered to stay out of the area until his next court appearance in June.

Proud Boys leader charged for burning BLM flag, released from jail but banned from Washington
Image Source: Supporters Of President Trump Gather In D.C. To Protest Election Results. WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 12. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Henry "Enrique" Tarrio is the leader of the Proud Boys, a far-right, neo-fascist and men-only political organization in the United States and Canada. He was arrested on Monday and later charged for burning a Black Lives Matter banner at a Black church located in Washington, DC, during protests in December 2020. He has since been released from jail on his own recognizance and has been strictly instructed to stay out of the DC area. Originally, the Proud Boys leader was charged with destruction of property "related to a banner that was burned on December 12 outside a church in northwest DC," a police officer with the DC Metropolitan Police Department claimed. Meanwhile, Public Information Officer Sean Hickman said Tarrio was charged with possession of firearm magazines, CNN reports.


Hickman told the news outlet prior to Tarrio's release, "He was charged with Destruction of Property related to an offense that occurred on Saturday, December 12, 2020, in the 900 block of 11th Street, Northwest. At the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of two high capacity firearm magazines. He was additionally charged with Possession of High Capacity Feeding Device." Tarrio's charges are likely the result of his public admissions. He took responsibility for burning the Black Lives Matter sign last month in a post uploaded to social media platform Parler, used mainly by conservatives and promoted by President Donald Trump. In the post, the leader, "against the wishes of [his] attorney," admitted to committing the act.


"I am here today to admit that I am the person responsible for the burning of this sign," he wrote, adding a dare for the police to arrest him. "Come get me if you feel like what I did was wrong. We'll let the public decide." In addition to this public proclamation, he took responsibility during a WarBoys podcast interview, also in the month of December 2020. He praised himself as "the person that went ahead and put the lighter to it and engulfed it in flames." He noted, "And I'm damn proud I did."


The incident in question took place during a demonstration outside the Supreme Court building and at Freedom Plaza in Washington, during which at least four people were stabbed and at least another 33 people were arrested. The Black Lives Matter protest was infiltrated by the Proud Boys, who held a "Stop the Steal" counterprotest in support of President Trump. Although the larger gatherings in these areas were mostly peaceful, social media posts from the protest depict "scuffles and small fights" breaking out. At the time, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser called for unity in an official statement. She affirmed, "This weekend, we saw forces of hate seeking to use destruction and intimidation to tear us apart. We will not let that happen, and continue to stand together strong and united to love."


Tarrio, who will be arrested if he is spotted in Washington, DC, is yet to respond to requests for comment. He also did not respond to similar requests made by CNN at the time of the protests. In online statements, the Proud Boys have claimed that they only use violent methods in self-defense. However, members of the group have often been seen carrying firearms and bats and donning protective gear​. Meanwhile, some have been convicted of crimes against anti-fascist protesters. The Anti-Defamation League has deemed the Proud Boys "misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and anti-immigration."


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