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DC Police Arrest Leader of Proud Boys Before Rallies

Enrique Tarrio is charged in the destruction of a BLM banner at a church in December
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2021 7:15 PM CST

(Newser) – The leader of the Proud Boys was arrested Monday afternoon in Washington, DC, where protests are planned this week of President Trump's loss in the presidential election. Police stopped the vehicle carrying Enrique Tarrio just after it crossed into the District, the Washington Post reports. He's charged with burning a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historic Black church during a December demonstration in the District; Tarrio, who lives in Miami, has said he's one of the people who burned the banner. He also faces two felony counts of possession of high-capacity ammunition feeding devices, which police said they found while arresting him. His organization, linked to white nationalism, has said its members will be at the rallies Tuesday and Wednesday. District officials, worried about violence, said Monday the National Guard will help with the crowds.

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Also on Monday, the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church filed a lawsuit against the Proud Boys and Tarrio over the destruction of the BLM banner. The suit says they were "engaging in acts of terror and vandalizing church property in an effort to intimidate the Church and silence its support for racial justice," per NBC. The suit listed social media posts telling members to "buy ammo," "clean your guns," and "keep our enemies awake," adding, "Tonight we become nightmares." Prosecutors said the burning of the banner could be prosecuted as a hate crime, which would add to the potential punishment. "I was the one that lit it on fire," Tarrio told DCist/WAMU. Tarrio, who was in custody Monday evening, could appear in court as soon as Tuesday. (Read more Proud Boys stories.)

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