Proud Boys leader arrested for burning Black Lives Matter banner, police investigate as hate crime
The leader of the Proud Boys was arrested Monday upon entering Washington, D.C., for allegedly destroying a Black Lives Matter banner that belonged to a church.
What are the details?
Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys, was traveling to the nation’s capital to participate in protests happening there on Wednesday. Supporters of President Donald Trump are gathering in Washington to demonstrate against congressional certification of the Electoral College results.
Police arrested Tarrio, who is from Miami, for allegedly burning a Black Lives Matter banner at Asbury United Methodist Church last month, one of the oldest black churches in Washington, D.C.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department told the New York Times that Tarrio was charged with destruction of property.
Police said they were investigating the incident as a “potential hate crime,” according to the Times. It happened during protests in mid-December when Trump supporters gathered for a “stop the steal” rally. The demonstrations later gave way to violent clashes between Antifa and the Proud Boys.
What has Tarrio said?
Tarrio has admitted to stealing and burning the Black Lives Matter banner.
He took responsibility for the act last month, writing in a post on the social media website Parler that “against the wishes of my attorney I am here today to admit that I am the person responsible for the burning of this sign.” In the same post, Tarrio also dared the police to arrest him, writing: “Come get me if you feel like what I did was wrong. We’ll let the public decide.” Tarrio also took responsibility during a “WarBoys” podcast interview last month, praising himself as “the person that went ahead and put the lighter to it and engulfed it in flames.”
In an interview with the Washington Post, Tarrio even admitted that he would plead guilty to the crime.
“I’ll fly there on my own dime. I have nothing to hide,” Tarrio told the Post last month. “So, let me make this simple. I did it.”
Not only was Tarrio charged with destruction of property for the Black Lives Matter banner incident, but police also charged him with “possession of a high capacity feeding device.”
“At the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of two high capacity firearm magazines,” police spokesman Sean Hickman told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Possession of high capacity firearm magazines is prohibited in Washington, D.C., and are defined as “magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition.”
This story has been updated.