Henry Tarrio, better known as “Enrique,” the leader of the right-wing Proud Boys extremist group, is copping pleas after a judge sentenced him to five months in jail.
The Proud Boys, a far-right, neo-fascist, and exclusively male organization have caused quite a few outbursts across the country, especially during the heights of the Black Lives Matter movement. Tarrio, who also served as the Florida state director of Latinos for Trump, was found guilty of burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was torn down from a historic Black church in downtown Washington.
He was also found to have brought two high-capacity firearm magazines into the nation’s capital days shortly before the Jan. 6 riot.
Now looking to atone for his actions, Tarrio was “profusely” sorry for his actions, telling the court that he made a “grave mistake.”
“What I did was wrong,” Tarrio said during the hearing held via videoconference.
The 37-year-old extremist was arrested on Jan. 4, two days before thousands of pro-Trump supporters — including members of the Proud Boys — would attempt to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College vote. And on Dec. 12, authorities highlight that Proud Boys members stole the #BlackLivesMatter banner from the Asbury United Methodist Church and then set it ablaze using lighter fluid and lighters.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Tarrio admitted that he was actually there during the burning of the banner. A picture of him holding an unlit lighter was discovered on his Parler account, which aided in him copping another plea while in court.
“His careless act of violence and hatred, targeted at a congregation of individuals with a lived history of social and racial injustice, had the presumably desired effect,” Rev. Dr. Panther Mills, senior pastor of the church, shared with the judge. “Asbury was forced to reckon with the very tangible evidence that we continue to live in a world where people radicalize hate based upon race and skin color.”
No hate crimes were filed against Tarrio, despite the judge arguing that he deserved more time behind bars than the three months that prosecutors had sought. “Mr. Tarrio has clearly — intentionally and proudly — crossed the line from peaceful protest and assembly to dangerous and potentially violent criminal conduct,” the judge said.
In addition to the Proud Boys, there are the 3-Percenters and the Oath Keepers, other extremist groups that participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and make up most of the serious charges levied upon those who participated in the insurrection.
About three dozen people have been identified by federal authorities as Proud Boys leaders, members, or associates. Specifically, four group leaders — Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Charles Donohoe — were charged earlier this year with conspiring to impede the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
Tarrio was also not charged in the Capitol attack.
Court records revealed that Tarrio had worked undercover and cooperated with investigators after a fraud accusation in 2012. Some local chapters have begun to cut ties with national leadership in the weeks after the Capitol insurrection, while the Proud Boys’ chairman called for a pause in their rallies.
Under his indictment, Tarrio would help the government prosecute more than a dozen other people within the organization.