Judge Doesn't Buy Apology From Leader of Proud Boys

Enrique Tarrio receives jail sentence for burning a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a church
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2021 5:11 PM CDT
Burning BLM Banner Puts Proud Boys Leader in Jail
Enrique Tarrio, shown last September, is to report to jail next month.   (AP Photo/Allison Dinner, File)

Enrique Tarrio apologized to a Washington, DC court on Monday for burning a Black Lives Matter banner that had been ripped down from a Black church in Washington. Calling his actions "a grave mistake," the Proud Boys leader told the judge: "I profoundly apologize. I didn't see the consequences of what I did." But after committing the crime last December, NBC reports, Tarrio posted on social media, "I'm damn proud I did it!" So when it came time for sentencing, Superior Court Judge Harold Cushenberg exceeded the recommendation of federal prosecutors—90 days in jail—and gave Tarrio 155 days. The defendant "did not credibly express genuine remorse" for the misdemeanors, the judge said. He was told to report to jail on Sept. 6.

The sentence also covers Tarrio's conviction for attempting to possess a high-capacity gun magazine. He brought the magazines to Washington the month after the banner incident, when he arrived just before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. He was arrested on Jan. 4, then released and told to leave Washington. Although Tarrio wasn't at the Capitol for the riot, the judge said his earlier actions hurt democracy, per CNN. He had posted that there'd be a big turnout of Proud Boys members at the Capitol. "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 Rev. Dr. Ianther Mills, pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church, spoke at the sentencing. Leading a "marauding band of angry white men ... apparently looking for trouble" through the streets of the city, she said, Tarrio commited "an act of intimidation and racism." In an earlier letter to the court, Mills said that for many in her congregation, the crime brought back "visions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan (and) cross burnings." Tarrio also had said he didn't realize the banner was church property. But he didn't care about the law, Cushenberry said: "He cared about himself and self-promotion. ... His claim of 'innocent mistake' is not credible at all." (More Proud Boys stories.)

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