Members of the Proud Boys shout at a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., on December 12, 2020. The groups leader, Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, pleaded guilty on Monday to burning a Black Lives Matter banner that night. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
July 20 (UPI) -- Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio has pleaded guilty to charges of burning a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a church in Washington, D.C., during December protests in support of then-President Donald Trump.
Tarrio pleaded guilty Monday in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to one count of destruction of property. He also pleaded guilty in a separate though related case to one count of attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device.
Prosecutors said Tarrio was in Washington for protests on Dec. 12 when four churches, including two historically Black places of worship, were vandalized.
The 37-year-old Miami resident pleaded guilty to being among a group of Proud Boys members who stole the BLM banner from the Asbury United Methodist Church, which was one of the four damaged that night, and burned it with lighter fluid and a lighter.
Authorities said Tarrio admitted online to burning the banner.
Tarrio was arrested Jan. 4 on returning to the city to participate in planned protests on Jan. 6 against the certification of Joe Biden's presidential win, which would see thousands of Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol, resulting in at least five deaths and more than 140 law enforcement officers injured.
Police arrested Tarrio on a warrant for the destruction of property but discovered two high-capacity firearm magazines in his possession, each of which bore the insignia of the Proud Boys, and was charged with two counts of possession of high-capacity ammunition weapons, which were lessened to one count of possessing a large-capacity ammunition feeding device in the plea deal.
Tarrio told detectives that he intended to sell the magazines to a customer in the District of Columbia, prosecutors said.
Dozens of Proud Boys members have been arrested in connection to the Capitol siege on charges of attacking police officers, civil disorder and conspiracy, among a slew of others.
The Justice Department said earlier this month that more than 500 people have been charged in connection with the assault on the Capitol, which incurred $1.5 million in damages.
On Monday, Paul Allard Hodgkins of Tampa, Fla., received the first felony sentence from charges stemming from the attack, receiving eight months in prison.
Along with the Proud Boys, several other extreme right-wing anti-government groups have been implicated the storming of the building, including the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers.
Tarrio is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 23, when he faces a maximum of 180 days in prison and up to a $1,000 fine for each charge.
Capitol Hill police salute the passing of the funeral hearse on Sunday for slain Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo