The Proud Boys leader who burned a church's Black Lives Matter banner and brought high-capacity rifle magazines to Washington just before the Capitol riot has been sentenced to more than five months in prison, CNN reports.
Enrique Tarrio was accused of burning a banner that belonged to the historically Black Asbury United Methodist Church last Dec. 12 after he and other members of the Proud Boys went to a rally for then-President Donald Trump. Tarrio was arrested after returning to the city on Jan. 4, where he was found to be in possession of two high-capacity rifle magazines, which are banned in the nation's capital.
Judge Harold L. Cushenberry Jr. of District of Columbia Superior Court issued the sentence to Tarrio, who has been a leader in the far-right group since 2018 and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors last month, on Monday. He noted that although Tarrio was not in Washington on the day of the Capitol riot, his actions before then undermined democracy.
"This court must respect the right of any citizen to peacefully assemble, protest, and make his or her views known on issues," Cushenberry said. "But Mr. Tarrio's conduct in these criminal cases vindicate none of these democratic values. Instead, Mr. Tarrio's actions betrayed them."
The senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church, the Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills, wrote in a letter to the judge before Tarrio's sentencing that the incident had been traumatic to many of the congregants, who were ''reminded of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan [and] cross burnings."
Mills said that Tarrio brought a "marauding band of angry white men ... apparently looking for trouble" around Washington and "in our opinion, this was an act of intimidation and racism."
Tarrio apologized directly to Mills in the hearing, saying he had “made a grave mistake” in burning the banner and bragging about it later on social media.
"I'd like to profusely apologize for my actions. ... What I did was wrong," he said. "I have suffered financially, socially, for what I've done. My family's business has been hit pretty hard. So what I did doesn't only affect the church. It affects a lot more people, including my family."
His attorney asked the judge to sentence his client to community service, and not to incarcerate him.
The judge rejected Tarrio's apology as not credible, adding that his claim that he didn't know he was burning church property was a “bald, self-serving assertion.”
Cushenberry added: "He could not have cared less about the laws of the District of Columbia. He cared about himself and self-promotion. ... His claim of 'innocent mistake' is not credible at all."
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