The leader of the Proud Boys has arrived at jail to begin a five month sentence hours after launching an 11th hour appeal against his sentence for burning a Black Lives Matter flag.
Enrique Tarrio sang and hugged an unidentified pal pal as he handed himself into jail in Washington DC Monday night over the December 2020 theft and destruction of a flag from a black Methodist church.
Speaking to WUSA 9 reporter Eric Flack as he prepared to walk up to the jail gate Tarrio said: ‘I’ve nothing to say to the members of that church or congregation any more. I already apologized to them once…
‘The same justice system that Black Lives Matter fights for is the same justice system championing my arrest, and I find that hysterical.’
He added: ‘Yes I did burn their property and I apologized to them, but after what I heard from them this was strictly political. They wanted to put the bad guy, the villain, in jail, and congratulations – they have.’
Lawyers for Enrique Tarrio filed the 67 page motion Monday night – just hours after Tarrio, 37, said he was ‘at peace’ with reporting to a jail in Washington DC by midnight to begin a five month jail sentence.
It claims sentencing Judge Harold L Cushenberry treated Tarrio far more harshly than a sex offender called Irun Warner, who Cushenberry sentenced for groping a woman’s buttocks in August 2021.
Cushenberry gave Warner a suspended sentence for misdemeanor sex abuse just two days after ordering Tarrio to spend 155 days in jail.
Tarrio’s appeal against his sentence said: ‘It is simply inexplicable how it would be justifiable to sentence Mr Tarrio to serve 155 days of executed jail time for burning a piece of cloth and possessing an ammunition feeding device that did not contain ammunition when the same judge, only days later, sentenced another defendant who sexually abused a victim to serve absolutely no jail time.’
The filing also detailed how Judge Cushenberry’s daughter had been baptized at Asbury Methodist Church in Washington DC – whose flag Tarrio admitted destroying.
Cushenberry offered to recuse himself on revealing that information to Tarrio at the Proud Boy leader’s plea hearing on July 19, but was not asked to do so.
Tarrio apologized over the flag burning, and said he did not realize it had come from the historically-black church.
The banner was emblazoned with the name of the church’s website, but Tarrio, who is from Florida, told the court he had no idea what the web address was linked to.
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, left, shared a photo of himself Monday as he prepared to hand himself into a Washington DC jail to begin a five month prison sentence
His lawyers have also said that Tarrio’s sentence was influenced by Cushenberry’s decision to hear testimony from Asbury’s pastor the Rev Dr Ianther M Mills, who said parishioners had been traumatized by the flag burning, and branded it racist.
They said Mills’ victim impact statement should not have been taken into account because prosecutors were unable to offer any proof that Tarrio knew the flag came from a church.
The filing said that Tarrio’s sentence ‘is unreasonably harsh and disproportionate when taking into account the goals of sentencing.’
It also highlighted how the sentence handed to Tarrio exceeded the three month incarceration prosecutors had recommended for him.
Monday’s appeal calls on DC Superior Curt to ‘reconsider and substantially reduce’ the sentence Tarrio was handed last month, after he admitted stealing and burning a church’s Black Lives Matter banner, and coming to DC with a high-capacity magazine barred in the area.
Tarrio is due to hand himself in to a jail in DC at midnight, with his Telegram messaging channel sharing a link to the court filing, and describing it as a ‘curveball.’
The leader of far-right group the Proud Boys told his supporters to ‘never back down’ earlier on Monday, and claimed he was ‘at peace’ with the prospect of going to jail.
Enrique Tarrio, 39, told his supporters to continue pushing their cause in a message shared on his Telegram account Monday.
He wrote: ‘First, I want to thank the thousands of true American patriots who have offered prayers and support as I embark on this next chapter of my life. I am not worried and feel at peace with what I must do over the next five months.
‘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.
‘Make no mistake, they are coming after me in order to intimidate patriots into submission. My message to them is simple, don’t give up the ship.
The Proud Boys also shared a lengthy statement condemning Tarrio’s imprisonment, and asking for donations for his family
‘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 also shared a photo of himself in what appeared to be a Washington DC hotel room on Monday.
It was captioned: ‘”Enrique, how are you feeling today?” Marvelous.’
The BLM banner burning took place in December 2020.
Tarrio was arrested over that incident after returning to DC on January 4 – two days before the Capitol riot. He was found to be in possession of two empty high-capacity magazines banned in DC, and subsequently also charged over that too.
Tarrio’s lengthy pre-jail statement blasted the ‘activist judge’ who jailed him, and claimed he was being punished ‘for engaging in constitutionally protected free speech activities’.
It also included a link to a ‘support fund’ to try and raise money for Tarrio’s family ‘during this difficult time.’
The statement said Tarrio and other Proud Boys ‘were protesting the violent domestic terrorist organization known as Black Lives Matter, which is now a punishable offense.’
It continued: ‘Meanwhile, BLM and Antifa continue to murder and maim, setting cities ablaze across America with no end in sight.’
This is the moment a Proud Boys group led by Tarrio burned a black church’s Black Lives Matter flag in Washington DC in December 2020
Tarrio apologized for the flag-burning, pictured, in court, but claimed Monday his behavior was covered by his constitutional right to freedom of expression
Tarrio, pictured in Portland in September 2020, has been leader of the Proud Boys since 2018
Tarrio, pictured front in black with a megaphone, took to the streets of Portland to protest at far-left group Antifa’s behavior in the Oregon city
Tarrio’s Telegram account said the Miami native had spent the weekend with friends and family who’d traveled up the east coast to see him ahead of his incarceration.
He was handed the sentence on August 31 by Judge Harold L Cushenberry at DC Superior Court. Cushenberry said Tarrio’s behavior ‘betrayed’ the rights of Americans to ‘peacefully assemble, protest and make his or her views known on issues.’
Tarrio – who has led the Proud Boys since 2018 – admitted two misdemeanors, destruction of property and the weapons charge.
WHO ARE THE PROUD BOYS?
Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes started the all-male Proud Boys in 2016. McInnes and the Proud Boys have described the group as a politically incorrect men’s club for ‘Western chauvinists’ and deny affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views.
The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Proud Boys as a hate group, saying that its members often spread ‘outright bigotry’ and ‘anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric’ over the internet, and have posted social media pictures of themselves with prominent Holocaust deniers, white nationalists and ‘known neo-Nazis.’
Current national leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, marched in the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017.
Proud Boys have been involved in a series of high-profile violent clashes at political events.
In New York City in October 2018, police arrested several Proud Boys members who brawled with anti-fascist protesters following a speech by McInnes at a Manhattan Republican club.
Proud Boys members also have frequently clashed with counterprotesters at rallies in California and Oregon.
Most recently, the group took part in the siege on the Capitol on January 6, where some members were seen breaking into the building.
In February, they were designated a terrorist group by Canada.