Proud Boys Leader Who Burned BLM Flag At Trump Protest Sentenced To Five Months In Jail


Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to more than five months in jail on Monday for his actions at a pro-Trump rally in December 2020, which included burning a Black Lives Matter flag stolen from a historically Black church in Washington, D.C.

Key Facts

The leader of the far-right group, famous for violently brawling with left-wing activists, was sentenced to 155 days in jail—with an additional 85 suspended—for burning the flag and carrying high-capacity magazines into the city just weeks before members of his group stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Tarrio pleaded guilty to one count of destruction of property and one count of possession of high-capacity magazines in July, and expressed remorse for his actions in court on Monday, according to reporters in the room.

NBC4 Washington’s Scott Macfarlane reported that Tarrio apologized for tearing down and burning the Black Lives Matter banner flag that was on display at the Asbury United Methodist Church, describing it as a “grave mistake”; he also claimed that he no longer even carries around a pocket knife.

However, D.C. Superior Court Judge Harold Cushenberry argued Tarrio “has not credibly expressed remorse,” citing “boastful social media posts on Parler” that he said contracted Tarrio’s claim he didn’t know the BLM banner belonged to the church.

Chief Critic

“Mr. Tarrio didn’t care. That’s what I think,” said Cushenberry, according to WUSA9’s Jordan Fischer. “He could not have cared less about the laws of the District of Columbia. He cared about himself and self-promotion.”

Key Background 

Tarrio’s sentencing came as his group once again made headlines for violently clashing with left-wing anti-fascist activists in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday. The two groups openly brawled, destroying property, spraying chemicals and firing paintballs, according to reports. Local police said they are investigating an incident during which shots were fired amid the chaos, for which one man has been arrested and charged (no-one was injured). 

Surprising Fact 

Dozens of members of the Proud Boys have been charged in connection to Jan. 6, though the FBI has reportedly found little evidence that the attack on the Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result.  

What To Watch For 

Tarrio told NPR that he plans to step down from his role leading the group in September to instead focus on his chapter in Florida. It is unclear who will replace him. 

Further Reading 

“Proud Boys Leader To Step Down As Embattled Group Plans Pivot To Local Politics” (Forbes) 

“Gunfire erupts after Proud Boys and anti-fascists openly brawl in Portland without police intervention” (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

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