Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the far-right Proud Boys organization, was arrested on Monday afternoon in Washington, D.C., on a warrant charging him with burning a stolen Black Lives Manner banner, a police spokesman said.
The banner was taken from the Asbury United Methodist Church, a historic Black church, during a rally on Dec. 12, and Tarrio later told The Washington Post he was part of the burning. Tarrio, who lives in Miami, was charged with one misdemeanor count of destruction of property, D.C. police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said. Tarrio has also been charged with two counts of possession of high capacity ammunition feeding devices; the items were found during his arrest.
During his earlier interview with the Post, Tarrio denied knowing that the Asbury United Methodist Church was a predominantly Black church, claiming, "The sign was taken down because of what it represents." The U.S. attorney's office in D.C. will determine whether the burning is a hate crime, Sternbeck said.
The Proud Boys are planning a rally in D.C. on Wednesday to show their support for President Trump's attempts to overturn the election results. On Dec. 12, members of the group, which has ties to white nationalism, and other alt-right organizations marched through downtown D.C. It was a violent evening, police said, with four churches vandalized. There was also a stabbing at a bar that has become a gathering spot for the Proud Boys.