Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Pleads Guilty to Burning Black Lives Matter Banner

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zack Stieber covers the major news of the day. Previously, he worked as a New York City metro reporter.
July 20, 2021 Updated: July 20, 2021

The leader of the Proud Boys pleaded guilty this week to a weapons charge and to the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner.

Henry Tarrio, better known as Enrique Tarrio, pleaded guilty in two separate cases filed dealing with events that transpired in Washington in December 2020 and early January.

Proud Boys members were the prime suspects in the destruction of a large “Black Lives Matter” sign that was on the lawn of Asbury United Methodist Church. The destruction, captured on videos that were posted on Twitter, took place on Dec. 13, 2020.

After an arrest warrant was issued for Tarrio just before the New Year, officers pulled over a Honda Crosstour with Virginia tags and found the suspect inside. Tarrio was found with two high-capacity, .556 caliber firearm magazines, according to charging documents.

Tarrio was originally charged with two counts of possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device and destruction of property.

Accepting a plea deal, the 37-year-old Miami, Florida resident pleaded guilty to destruction of property and attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device, court records showed.

He faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Tarrio did not return a request for comment sent to his lawyer. Black Lives Matter DC and Asbury United Methodist Church did not respond to requests for comment.

“It’s pretty simple. I’m guilty,” Tarrio told Business Insider.

Tarrio said he burned the banner because Black Lives Matter supports communists like those in power in Cuba.

“I shouldn’t have done it. I shouldn’t have burned the banner, but I’m just explaining why I did it,” the first-generation Cuban-American added.

The Proud Boys describe themselves as a pro-western male fraternity that “is anti-SJW without being alt-right.” SJW stands for social justice warrior. Critics claim the organization is a far-right group that foments hate.

Multiple Proud Boys members face charges stemming from the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. Tarrio was not there. A judge ordered him to stay away from Washington because of the charges he faced.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zack Stieber covers the major news of the day. Previously, he worked as a New York City metro reporter.