WASHINGTON — A D.C. Superior Court judge sentenced Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio to more than five months behind bars Monday for burning a Black Lives Matter banner and bringing two high-capacity magazines into the District of Columbia.
Judge Harold Cushenberry said Tarrio's apparent lack of remorse and repeated criminal violations following previous terms of probation warranted a higher sentence than the 90 days the Justice Department requested in the case. On Monday, he sentenced Tarrio to 155 days in jail and three years of probation.
“Mr. Tarrio’s conduct in these criminal cases indicate none of these democratic values [he claims]," Cushenberry said. "Instead Mr. Tarrio’s actions betrayed them. Mr. Tarrio has clearly, intentionally and proudly crossed the line from peaceful protest into dangerous and potentially violent criminal conduct.”
Tarrio was arrested on January 4 when he traveled to D.C. to attend former President Donald Trump's “Stop the Steal” rally while in possession of two large capacity magazines. The magazines, which are illegal to possess in D.C., were discovered while police were executing an arrest warrant on Tarrio for charges stemming from the burning of a Black Lives Matter flag stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church in December 2020.
Tarrio was granted pretrial release the following day. His release conditions included a prohibition on entering the District of Columbia except for court-related appearances.
In July, Tarrio pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges in the case and was scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 23.
Since his plea hearing, however, Tarrio has not kept a low profile online – something both Cushenberry and the DOJ pointed out during his sentencing hearing.
"The court ultimately agrees with the government that Mr. Tarrio has not credibly expressed remorse," Cushenberry said, referencing his "bald, self-serving assertion" that he didn't know the BLM banner belonged to the church. Cushenberry said that claim was belied by videos shot by the Proud Boys and by Tarrio's own "boastful social media posts on Parler."
On his Telegram page, the Proud Boys leader has kept up frequent posts calling for the release of fellow Proud Boys and Capitol riot defendants Joseph Biggs and Ethan Nordean, also known as “Rufio Panman.” Tarrio posted a video of himself to his page on Saturday at a rally in Florida calling for the release of Biggs. Supporters standing behind in the video can be seen holding signs calling Biggs a political prisoner and declaring that “White Lives Matter.”
Biggs is one of four alleged Proud Boys leaders accused of conspiring to disrupt the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.
Tarrio also posted an image of a gas mask, protective vest and other protective gear on Sunday in a post claiming he would be speaking at a “United We Win” rally in Portland, Oregon. According to WUSA9’s sister station KGW, that event devolved into a violent melee between Proud Boys and “antifa.” A 65-year-old man was taken into custody during the brawl for allegedly firing a gun at purported antifa members. Despite his post, it was not immediately clear whether Tarrio actually attended the event.
Other recent posts include attacks on Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonnell and D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone, both of whom testified about the violence they experience on Jan. 6, and one in early August promising a “September surprise” on 9/11.
On Aug. 9, Tarrio posted an illustration “from a very talented individual” depicting Proud Boys engaged in combat in front of a burning U.S. Capitol building. The illustration contains a number of pieces of white supremacist and Nazi imagery, including the number 88 – a white supremacist code for the phrase “Heil Hitler.” In a follow-up post, Tarrio wrote, “Zoom in and you’ll enjoy it more.”
The Enrique Tarrio who appeared in court Monday struck a very different tone. His attorney, Lucas Dansie, described him as a "man of moral character who respects the laws" and asked Cushenberry to sentence him to probation and community service. Tarrio himself said there was "no excuse for what I did."
“That day I made a grave mistake. A very, very bad mistake," Tarrio said. "I’d like to profusely apologize for my actions. I heard the grief in her voice. What I did was wrong.”
Cushenberry was not swayed, however. Before handing down his sentence, he told Tarrio he saw no evidence of any respect for the laws of D.C., or anywhere else.
“Mr. Tarrio didn’t care. That’s what I think," Cushenberry said. "He could not have cared less about the laws of the District of Columbia. He cared about himself and self-promotion. He didn’t care about our laws or anyone else’s laws.”
Tarrio has two weeks to report to authorities to begin his sentence. He will have up to a year to pay hundreds of dollars of fines and restitution to Asbury United Methodist Church.
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