WASHINGTON – Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, 37, of Miami, Fla., was sentenced today to a total of 155 days of incarceration on charges stemming from two cases, including one involving the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a historically prominent Black church in downtown Washington, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Tarrio pleaded guilty on July 19, 2021, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to one count of destruction of property and one count of attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device. The Honorable Harold L. Cushenberry, Jr. sentenced Tarrio to 90 days of jail on the destruction of property charge and 150 days in jail on the ammunition offense; the judge suspended all but 155 days of that time on the condition that Tarrio successfully complete three years of probation. Tarrio also must pay $1,000 in fines, as well as $347 in restitution to the church. Tarrio is to begin serving his sentence in two weeks.
According to a proffer of facts submitted at the plea hearing, on the evening of Dec. 12, 2020, a group of individuals affiliated with the “Proud Boys,” including Tarrio, were in the area of 11th and K Streets NW, near the location of Asbury United Methodist Church. Unidentified members of the group stole the banner from the church’s property. The banner had lettering that read “#BLACKLIVESMATTER.” The banner also contained the Church’s logo and website address.
The group then walked southbound on 11th Street NW and took the banner to the intersection of 11th and E Streets NW. At the intersection, the group burned the banner, using lighter fluid and lighters. Numerous unidentified individuals crouched down and applied lighters to the edges of the banner. Tarrio posted a picture to his “Parler” social media account depicting himself holding an unlit lighter, inches from the ignited lighters in two other individuals’ hands.
In the days that followed, Tarrio admitted to burning the banner on social media and in comments to numerous media outlets.
Tarrio returned to the District of Columbia from Florida on Jan. 4, 2021, and he was arrested on a warrant charging him with the Dec. 12, 2020, destruction of property offense. In a search of his book bag, conducted at the time of his arrest, police recovered two high-capacity firearm magazines. Each magazine bars the insignia of the “Proud Boys.” In an interview with police, Tarrio told detectives that he had intended to transfer the magazines to a customer who was also going to be present in the District of Columbia.
In announcing the sentence, Acting U.S. Attorney Philips and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department, as well as those who are prosecuting the matter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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