Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to more than five months in jail Monday for tearing a Black Lives Matter banner down from a historic Black church and setting it ablaze.
“What I did was wrong,” Tarrio told the court in a video conference hearing, noting that he was “profusely” sorry for actions he considered a “grave mistake,” according to the Associated Press.
Police say members of the Proud Boys stole the Black Lives Matter banner off of Asbury United Methodist Church on Dec. 12 before dousing it with lighter fluid and setting it on fire. Tarrio posted a picture of himself holding an unlit lighter to the banner on social media, admitting later to The Washington Post that he had participated in setting it on fire.
The church’s senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Ianther Mills, told the judge that Tarrio’s actions were “act of intimidation and racism” that caused “immeasurable and possibly irreparable harm” to the community.
“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,” Mills said. “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.”
Police arrested Tarrio on Jan. 4 as he arrived in Washington, D.C., two days ahead of former President Donald Trump’s rally, with many who attended that rally later participating in the storming of U.S. Capitol building immediately afterward.
Police pulled Tarrio over on the warrant for vandalizing the Black Lives Matter sign, finding two unloaded magazines emblazoned with the Proud Boys logo in the car. Tarrio told police that he sells the magazines and he was dropping them off to a customer who had already paid for him.
Tarrio pleaded guilty last month to destruction of property and attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition-feeding device.