Proud Boys Leader Gets 5-Month Sentence for Burning BLM Flag, Apologizes for Actions

Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group, was sentenced to five months in jail on Monday for destruction of property and possessing two high-capacity firearm magazines that he brought to Washington, D.C., days before the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the Associated Press reported.

Tarrio said in court via teleconference that he was "profusely" sorry for making such a "grave mistake." At his last court appearance in July, Tarrio pleaded guilty but expressed no remorse for his crimes, which included burning a Black Lives Matter Flag that was torn down from a historic Black church.

"What I did was wrong," Tarrio said during the hearing.

Previously, Tarrio told a judge he was unaware that the banner had come from the Asbury United Methodist Church. He told the Washington Post that he didn't regret burning the banner because he felt that BLM "has terrorized the citizens of this country."

"If I'd have known that banner came from a church, it would not have been burned," Tarrio said. The banner was stolen by "unidentified members of the group" before Tarrio and others participated in burning it.

The Proud Boys leader was arrested in the nation's capital two days prior to the violent riot in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election. A judge ordered Tarrio to stay away from Washington as part of an effort to prevent violence from the agitators.

More than three dozen supposed members or associates of the Proud Boys were charged for their roles in the riot, including charges of attacking police that helped the mob breach the Capitol building. Authorities said four other leaders of the group, including one who was with Tarrio during a December 12 demonstration, are facing allegations of directing the violence.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Enrique Tarrio Sentence
Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boy, a right-wing extremist group, was sentenced to five months in jail on Monday for destruction of property and possessing two high-capacity firearms magazines that he brought to Washington, D.C. days before the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Above, Tarrio (front) at a Stop the Steal rally against the results of the U.S. presidential election outside the Georgia State Capitol on November 18, 2020, in Atlanta. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

Authorities say Proud Boys members stole the banner that read #BLACKLIVESMATTER from the Asbury United Methodist Church on December 12 and then set it ablaze using lighter fluid and lighters. Tarrio posted a picture of himself holding an unlit lighter to his Parler account and admitted days later in an interview with the Washington Post that he joined in the burning of the banner.

When police pulled Tarrio over on January 4 on the warrant for vandalizing the sign, officers found two unloaded magazines emblazoned with the Proud Boys logo in his bag. Tarrio said, according to a police report, that he sells the clips and the ones he was carrying were purchased by a customer.

Tarrio pleaded guilty last month to destruction of property and attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device.

January 6 Riots
Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boy, a right-wing extremist group, was sentenced to five months in jail on Monday for destruction of property and possessing two high-capacity firearms magazines that he brought to Washington, D.C. days before the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Above, violent insurrectionists hold on to a police barrier at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington. John Minchillo, File/AP Photo