Proud Boys leader who torched BLM banner gets early release from jail

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio is a free man Friday, after serving four months of a five-month sentence in Washington, D.C.’s Central Detention Facility.

The 37-year-old activist pled guilty in July to dousing a BLM banner, stolen from the historic Asbury United Methodist Church on Dec. 12, 2020, in lighter fluid and setting it ablaze. Tarrio then uploaded a selfie, sporting an unlit lighter, to his Parler social media account.

Soon after, Tarrio confessed his guilt to The Washington Post.  “Let me make this simple,” he said. I did it.”

Upon his arrest in D.C. on a destruction of property charge, authorities also discovered two high-capacity firearm magazines — each marked with the Proud Boys insignia — and charged Tarrio with bringing them into Washington just two days before the Jan. 6 riot.


(Video: WUSA)

“In an interview with police, Tarrio told detectives he intended to transfer the magazines to a customer who was also going to be present in the District of Columbia,” federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Judge Harold Cushenberry Jr. sentenced Tarrio in August to 90 days in jail on the destruction of property charge and 150 days for the ammunition offense, then suspended all but 155 days on the condition that he successfully complete three years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $1,000 in fines and $347 in restitution to the church.

Shortly before Tarrio started his jail term in September, he posed for pictures, holding up a lighter in front of the US Capitol building.

In his final hours of freedom, he posted the photos to Telegram and urged his supporters to “keep protesting.”

“While it may be me today who is bearing the brunt of an over-politicized Biden Justice Department that caters to the Marxist mob, tomorrow it will be everyday Americans who they will set their sights on,” he said.

“Make no mistake, they are coming after me in order to intimidate patriots into submission,” he added. “My message to them is simple: don’t give up the ship. Keep protesting, keep holding power to account and never back down. They want to kill you, our patriotism, and cause the total erasure of our culture.”

Tarrio walked out of jail Friday, just two months after he requested an early release, citing inhumane living conditions, according to The Hill.

The request was denied at the time, with DC Superior Court Judge Jonathan Pittman saying Tarrio failed to present “extraordinary and compelling reasons” to be released early. 

While it was not clear why the decision was then made to release Tarrio a month ahead of schedule, he was seen exiting the prison on Friday, wearing jeans and a black Malcolm X t shirt depicting the iconic leader brandishing a firearm along with the words, “@FREETHEPROUDBOYS … BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.” Tarrio also carried a white plastic bag that appeared to contain his belongings.

After greeting his family and hugging his fiancé, Tarrio told reporters he was feeling “great” about his release, but noted that he was still worried for several Capitol riot defendants who are being detained at the jail.

It is unclear what role Tarrio will hold in the Proud Boys following his release.

Melissa Fine

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