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Proud Boys leader released from jail, ordered to stay away from DC

Enrique Tarrio was arrested in D.C. Monday and charged with destruction of property for allegedly destroying Black Lives Matter signs at a protest in December.
Credit: AP
Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio rallies in Portland, Ore., during the group's "End Domestic Terrorism" gathering on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, was released from jail Tuesday and ordered to stay away from D.C., except for his trial, according to officials. Tarrio was arrested in D.C. Monday night and charged with destruction of property for allegedly destroying Black Lives Matter signs at a protest in December, according to DC Police. 

A small group of supporters greeted the leader of the far-right group with hugs after he was released from lockup in the basement of DC Police headquarters. A judge in D.C. Superior Court ordered that Tarrio be released on his own recognizance.

Tarrio said he'd keep fighting from outside the city. 

"Same thing we've been fighting for, the [expletive] election," Tarrio said. "Picking me up like Roger Stone, seven patrol cars for a misdemeanor, pulling me out at gunpoint, for a misdemeanor." 

According to court documents, DC Police knew that Tarrio was in a silver 4-door Honda Crosstour with Virginia tags and pulled him over as he was driving northbound in the 3rd Street tunnel. 

"MPD members arrested 36-year-old Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, of Miami, FL,"  DC Police said in a statement. "He was charged with Destruction of Property related to an offense that occurred on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020 in the 900 block of 11th Street, Northwest."

DC Police also said that when Tarrio was arrested he had "two high capacity .556 caliber firearm magazines," and was charged with "possession of a large capacity ammunition firing device," as well. 

Police said the magazines, found inside a backpack Tarrio was carrying, had the capacity to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition each. 

According to DC Police, Tarrio posted to Parler  -- a social media networking site with a significant user base of Trump supporters -- that his followers would be in D.C. Wednesday in small teams, wearing all black instead of their usual black and yellow.

Tarrio was named in a lawsuit announced by civil rights groups Monday that alleges the Proud Boys targeted the District’s Metropolitan AME Church by tearing down its Black Lives Matter banner. Proud Boys International, LLC and a number of unidentified Proud Boys members involved in the incident are also listed as defendants in the lawsuit. 

Video taken at the scene shows agitators tearing down and burning the Black Lives Matter banner at the District’s historic Black church on Dec. 12 after a day of pro-Trump protests. The claims are being brought under the D.C. crime statute that forbids trespassing and conversion as well as a federal statute that prohibits intentionally damaging or destroying property of a place of religious worship.

President and Executive Director of Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Kristen Clarke, emphasized the importance of Black churches’ impact on the community

“We know that black churches have long played a central role in organizing for racial justice," she said. "They're often at the heart of black community organizing." 

Clarke said she hopes the lawsuit will send a message to future instigators. 

“The Proud Boys and other violent extremists must understand that they cannot unleash violence with impunity," Clarke said. "We are prepared to use the courts to hold them accountable and stand up for the institutions and people targeted by their racist actions.”

Several pro-Trump rallies are scheduled in the District this week. The March For Trump rally organized by the conservative women group, Women For America First, on Wednesday, Jan. 6 on the Ellipse Grounds is projecting about 5,000 Trump supporters to make their way to the nation's capital. 

RELATED: Civil rights groups sue Proud Boys for destruction of historic church’s BLM signs

RELATED: Here's everything you need to know about the 'March For Trump' rally in DC on Jan 6

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