Proud Boys Leader Continues to Boast About Burning BLM Sign on Parler

Enrique Tarrio, leader of the far-right Proud Boys group, has been playing up to his supporters online after claiming to have set fire to a Black Lives Matter sign following a MAGA rally in Washington earlier this month.

Tarrio, chairman of the organisation, said he was part of the group that ignited the banner, which had been torn from Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the oldest Black churches in Washington, following the pro-Donald Trump rally on December 12.

The act is being investigated as a potential hate crime by the Metropolitan Police Department, with police and the FBI also offering a reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and indictment.

Tarrio has denied the torching of the BLM banner was racially motivated.

"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 stand by and watch them burn another city," Tarrio posted on conservative social media site Parler last week.

In the days since, Tarrio has embraced the controversy surrounding his alleged confession. Posting a screenshot of a news article about his comments on Parler, Tarrio wrote: "I'll say it again...and I'll say it loud for the people in the back... I'M DAMN PROUD I DID IT!

In the early hours of Tuesday, December 22, Tarrio changed his name on Parler to "Fiery Tarrio."

The leader of the "western chauvinist" group, which has frequently denied that it is white supremacist, also shared a meme on Parler of a crudely drawn cartoon of Disney character Goofy wearing the Proud Boys uniform of a black and yellow polo shirt. The image includes the caption "FBI: 'NOOOO you can't burn a BLM banner thas [sic] a hate crime!'"

The caption then suggests Tarrio replies with "I'll f****** do it again."

Tarrio posted the image along with the message: "Ayo...Pass me the lighter."

On December 14, the Metropolitan Police Department issued images of the men they wanted to speak to in connection with the flag burning. While Tarrio does not appear to be among the suspects, he did post a picture on social media of himself with two other men using lighters to ignite the sign.

On the Proud Boys' podcast The War Boys last week, Tarrio again denied the act was a hate crime and said he was proud of doing it.

"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 added: "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 Asbury United Methodist Church's senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills, described the act as "reminiscent of cross burnings."

The Metropolitan Police Department has been contacted for comment.

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Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys far-right group, at a "Stop the Steal" rally on November 18 in Atlanta. Tarrio has continued to boast about setting fire to a Black Lives Matter sign taken from a church in Washington, D.C. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty