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DC police arrest Proud Boys leader on the way to Stop the Steal rally

The leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, 36, was arrested in Washington, D.C. by Metropolitan Police as he left the airport on the way to the Stop the Steal rallies on Monday. He’s being accused of stealing Black Lives Matter banners from a church and burning them. Tarrio’s being charged with destruction of property and illegally possessing two high-capacity gun magazines.

Tarrio was taken into custody based on incidents during the group’s march through Washington last month. In a video taken of that event, at least two Black Lives Matter banners were allegedly stolen from nearby churches and burned in the streets while surrounded by a group of Proud Boys. The march later devolved into a violent faceoff with counterprotesters and resulted in four people being stabbed.

Tarrio was apparently arrested by police as he was conducting a phone interview with USA Today reporter Will Carless, “I was just interviewing Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio by phone. While we were on the call, sirens started blaring in the background. He told his driver to pull over. Said “They’re for me,” then “Here’s something to write about.” He *may have been arrested.”

Matt Couch followed up, “Leader of the Proud Boys and my friend Enrique Tarrio is being arrested for a misdemeanor in Washington, D.C. as he just landed at the airport. They are arresting him for taking the fall for the burning of the Black Lives Matter Banner at the last event. Per Joe Biggs on phone.”

Tarrio freely admitted in an interview that he and his group were responsible for stealing and destroying one church’s banner. The police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. No word on whether they treated the stabbings as such.

The Proud Boys leader told The Washington Post that he had burned the Black Lives Matter flag from the Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the oldest Black churches in Washington and that he would plead guilty to destruction of property if he were faced with a criminal charge.

“Let me make this simple,” he said. “I did it.”

“In the burning of the BLM sign, I was the one that lit it on fire,” Tarrio claimed on the podcast. “I was the person that went ahead and put the lighter to it and engulfed it in flames, and I am damn proud that I did.”

The timing of Tarrio’s arrest is suspect as it comes just two days before a Trump-promoted demonstration in Washington, D.C. to support uncovering election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Tarrio had promoted the event and promised on social media that the Proud Boys would “turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th” in support of Trump.

CBS’ Catherine Herridge tweeted: “#ProudBoys Source familiar w/case tells @CBSNews a charging decision is pending on new facts in the Enrique Tarrio case — specifically possession 2 high-capacity magazines — which is a DC felony. COULD warrant “stay away” order from DC.”

Herridge further reported that Tarrio was charged with “Possession of High Capacity Feeding Device.”

“#ProudBoys NEW details @DCPoliceDept arrest Enrique Tarrio + 2 “high capacity firearm magazines” STATEMENT: Today, January 4, 2021, upon entering DC + pursuant to a DC Superior Court Arrest Warrant, MPD members arrested 36-year-old Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, of Miami FL. He was charged with Destruction of Property related to an offense that occurred on Dec 12 in the 900 block 11th Street, NW. At the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of 2 high capacity firearm magazines. He was additionally charged with Possession of High Capacity Feeding Device.” @CBSNews”

“Possession of High Capacity Feeding Device,” comes with a fine of up to $12,500 and up to three years in prison.

Earlier Monday, Tarrio and the Proud Boys were sued by one of the Black churches whose banners were stolen and burned last month, “BREAKING: We are suing the Proud Boys and their members for the racist attack on Metropolitan AME church in Washington DC. This attack was one of several levied against churches targeted for their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The Proud Boys are NOT above the law.”

Three conservative groups have officially submitted permit applications to the National Park Service for events on Tuesday and Wednesday. Women for America First and the Eighty Percent Coalition requested permits for thousands of people each. A third event run by the organization The Silent Majority filed a permit for several hundred attendees.

D.C. police are warning Trump supporters to not bring arms to the rallies. Additionally, 340 National Guard members are on standby in case of violent outbreaks.

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