The leader of the Proud Boys was sentenced to more than five months in prison on Aug. 23 for burning a “Black Lives Matter” banner and for having been found with two high-capacity firearm magazines at the time of his arrest.
Enrique Tarrio, also known as Henry Tarrio, pleaded guilty in July to a misdemeanor charge of destruction of property, and separately, to a felony charge of attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device.
In a hearing held via videoconference on Aug. 23, Tarrio told the court that what he did was wrong and called his actions a “grave mistake,” reported The Associated Press.
Tarrio, who has been chairman of the Proud Boys since 2018, is expected to report to jail on Sept. 6 to start his 155-day sentence.
The first charge, for which he was sentenced to 30 days, involves Tarrio having set on fire a large “Black Lives Matter” banner that was torn down from the lawn of Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12, 2020.
The second charge, for which he was sentenced to 125 days, involves Tarrio having been found with two unloaded high-capacity firearm magazines at his arrest on Jan. 4, after arriving in Washington, D.C. ahead of the Jan. 6 planned protests. According to a reporter with NBC4, Tarrio told the court on Monday that he had brought the magazines to D.C. to sell to a customer who had purchased them from him.
Tarrio was ordered on Jan. 5 to remain outside Washington until his next court hearing scheduled in June. He had initially pleaded not guilty to the felony and misdemeanor charges in January before accepting a plea deal and pleading guilty to the charges in July.
Following his sentencing, Tarrio said in a statement on Telegram, “Take it to the chin.”
He later added that Americans have been “robbed of their free speech rights” due to censorship by Big Tech and intimidation by BLM and Antifa. “I will continue to do everything in my power to call out their hypocrisy and protect my fellow Americans from their depraved acts of violence.”
“Nothing worthwhile is gained without sacrifice. My time is short. But this is a window into the future. They want you demoralized, bankrupt, and dead,” he later said in a separate statement. “What I’m going through is nothing compared to what they’re doing to the Boys.”
Law enforcement had previously said that their move to arrest Tarrio on Jan. 4 was an effort to prevent potential violence ahead of Jan. 6. About three dozen people charged over the events of Jan. 6 have been identified by federal authorities as members or associates of the Proud Boys.
The Proud Boys group was formed in 2016 with a mission to defend “Western civilization,” according to the group’s official website, which has since been taken down. The group’s members have been known to protest against political correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity. According to the website, the group’s core values include standing up for second amendment rights, the right to free speech, fighting racism, and ending the war on drugs.
In late January, Tarrio was found to have been a “prolific” past informant for law enforcement, and had worked undercover with investigators after he was arrested and accused of fraud in 2012.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.