Enrique Tarrio Defense Fund Raises $100,000 Via Christian Crowdfunding Site

A campaign to raise money for the legal defense of a far-right protester has attracted more than $100,000 in a matter of days.

Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys group, was arrested on Monday on suspicion of destruction of property. He is accused of setting fire to a Black Lives Matter flag that had been torn from the Asbury United Methodist Church following pro-Trump protests in Washington, D.C. on December 12.

Tarrio is also facing weapons charges after police allegedly found him in possession of two high-capacity firearm magazines that bore the Proud Boys logo.

was entering Washington this week to take part in further demonstrations from Trump supporters and far-right extremists who dispute Joe Biden's election victory.

Soon after his arrest, a donation page for Tarrio's defense fund was set up on the Christian crowdfunding website GiveSendGo.

"I was arrested in Washington DC on 1/4/2021 this fund has been created to fund my legal defense and counter suit against the city of Washington DC," Tarrio writes on the page.

Less than 48 hours after his arrest, the page has raised more than $109,000 from over 2,300 donors.

According to Vice News, Twitter has banned people sharing web links to the page, marking the campaign as "unsafe for violating Twitter Rules on violent extremist groups." Facebook has also blocked links to the page because it doesn't "allow content that supports dangerous individuals and organizations."

Last year GiveSendGo, founded in 2015 by siblings Heather Wilson and Jacob Wells, gained national attention by hosting a fundraising campaign for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged with killing two people during Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August.

The site has resisted calls, including from other Christian organizations, to take down the fundraising page and is still accepting donations. The amount raised for Rittenhouse so far is more than $585,000.

Since then, a number of conservative and far-right figures and organisations, including the Proud Boys, have set up pages on the site. Speaking to The Daily Beast, Wells admitted it was the Rittenhouse fundraiser that "broke the floodgates" for GiveSendGo to host donation pages that may be banned on other platforms.

"Our name has gotten pushed out as a result of that," Wells said. "It wasn't necessarily the intention. We felt we were doing what was right in the moment."

Wilson has also acknowledged that her site's lack of censorship compared to platforms such as GoFundMe has made GiveSendGo the go-to place for the far-right's fundraising efforts.

"GoFundMe decided they're not going to allow certain campaigns," Wilson told Religion News Service. "So guess who gets the kickback of the campaigns that won't be allowed on GoFundMe. They come to us now.

"It's not our job to take a stand or a side," added Wilson. "We're not backing any campaigns, sharing any campaigns, giving to any campaigns. We're just allowing the freedom."

Tarrio was released from custody on Tuesday but ordered to leave Washington, D.C. by a judge ahead of the protests due to take place on Wednesday.

GiveSendGo has been contacted for further comment.

 Enrique Tarrio
Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, stands outside Harry's Bar in Washington, D.C. during a protest on December 12, 2020. A fundraising page for Tarrio's defense following his arrest this week has received more than $100,000. Stephanie Keith/Getty