Proud Boys Leader Admits Burning Church BLM Sign Following Washington Rally

One of the leading figures of the far-right Proud Boys group has admitted being part of the group that tore off a Black Lives Matter sign from a church and set fire to it following a MAGA rally in Washington.

Proud Boys chairmen Enrique Tarrio claimed he is responsible for setting the banner on fire while posting a picture of himself with two other men using lighters to ignite the sign on social media site Parler.

The BLM sign was removed from Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the oldest Black churches in Washington, during a night of violence in the capital following a pro-Donald Trump protest on December 12, supporting his unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud during the election.

On December 14, the Metropolitan Police Department released pictures of suspects they want to speak to in connection with the burning of the BLM banner, which they are investigating as a potential hate crime.

Police are also offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and indictment, with the FBI Washington Field Office offering an additional $2,000.

The Proud Boys, listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, have continually denied they are a white supremacist organization.

Writing on Parler, Tarrio denied that the act was a hate crime and that the burning of the sign was an act "out of love" for the country.

"I'm here to tell you that there was no hate crime committed. The only hate there is in my heart is for communism and an authoritarian government," Tarrio said. "BLM is a Marxist movement. It isn't about the color of someone's skin.

"Against the wishes of my attorney I am here today to admit that I am the person responsible for the burning of this sign. And I am not ashamed of what I did because I didn't do it out of hate... I did it out of love. Love for a country that has given my family SO MUCH," Tarrio added.

"The burning of this banner wasn't about race, religion or political ideology, it was about a racist movement that has terrorized the citizens of this country. I will not standby and watch them burn another city.

"So let me make this simple. I did it. Come get me if you feel like what I did was wrong. We'll let the public decide."

Now they’re burning it. pic.twitter.com/Umz80dIw7y

— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) December 13, 2020

Tarrio also made a similar alleged confession on the group's podcast The War Boys.

"Nobody went up to this sign thinking it was a racial thing," Tarrio said. "This is a Marxist thing, this is a terrorist movement.

He adds: "In the burning of the BLM sign, I was the one who lit it on fire.I was the person that went ahead and put a lighter to it and engulfed it in flames. And I am damn proud that I did."

The Metropolitan Police Department has been contacted for comment.

The incident involving the BLM banner was widely condemned by politicians and religious groups. The Asbury United Methodist Church's senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills, described it as "reminiscent of cross burnings."

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser added: "DC's faith-based organizations are at the very heart of our community, giving us hope in the face of darkness. They embody our DC values of love and inclusivity. An attack on them is an attack on all of us.

"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."

Enrique Tarrio
Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, stands outside Harry's bar during a protest on December 12, in Washington, D.C. Tarrio has admitted being part of the group that tore off a Black Lives Matter sign from a church and set fire to it following a MAGA rally. Stephanie Keith/Getty