The co-founder and leader of the extremist Proud Boys group, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, was arrested in Washington D.C. on Monday and charged with destruction of property and possession of high-capacity firearm magazines.
Tarrio claimed responsibility in media interviews for burning a Black Lives Matter flag taken from a historic Black church last month during rioting and vandalism following a “Stop the Steal” rally in the city.
— WJZ | CBS Baltimore (@wjz) January 5, 2021
Despite Tarrio – who is Afro-Cuban – maintaining the Proud Boys are not a racist organization, the right-wing faction has a history of violence and was designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the FBI classified them as having ties to White nationalism.
To cover his legal expenses, Tarrio has so far raised $110,000 through the Christian crowdfunding site, Give Send Go.
Self-described 'Christian' crowdfunding site, GiveSendGo, is hosting a campaign for Proud Boys leader Enrique Torrio that has raised more than $100k. The co-founders defend hosting the campaign and the right of anyone to legal defense. My latest: https://t.co/31kfv64cs6 via @RNS
— Roxanne Stone (@roxyleestone) January 6, 2021
Tarrio wrote on his campaign page:
“I was arrested in Washington DC on 1/4/2021 this fund has been created to fund my legal defense and counter suit against the city of Washington DC.”
Sigh…. oh my.
— jennhamel (@jennhamel) January 6, 2021
The Proud Boys promoted Tarrio’s fundraising campaign and shared it on Parler – a social media platform heavily geared towards Donald Trump’s base, conspiracy theorists, and the extremist right.
The Daily Dot mentioned the Proud Boys have increasingly turned to the Christian fundraising platform to help raise money for activities associated with the protests.
For example, Proud Boy member Jeremy Bertino, a.k.a. Noble Beard, raised $60,000 for medical expenses after sustaining injuries from a stabbing during a protest in Washington D.C. in December.
People pointed out the hypocrisy of the religious fundraising platform’s altruistic endeavor.
Heather Wilson of Give Send Go has provided a platform for Proud Boys leader Tarrio to fundraise for bail money.
The site claims to be the #1 Christian fundraising site. Yet they are literally supporting someone who has carried out an attack on a historically Black church.
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) January 5, 2021
That's why I'm done with ANY organized church-Protestant or Catholic. At 72, I'm sick of the racism, the misogyny, the biased interpretation of Scripture from a patriarchal mindset & the cherry picking of passages to support one's hatred for differences & love of money & power
— woman (@shalomisnow) January 5, 2021
White Christianity is hard to separate from White Supremacy these days.
— Justin Smith (@JustinS65097428) January 5, 2021
These people aren’t Christians.
— kevin Johnikin (@kj4290) January 5, 2021
I cannot comprehend these “Christian” people. Which Bible are they reading?
— Ajamama🇺🇸 (@cvs15coxnet2) January 5, 2021
These people are trying to turn the word Christian into another name for the Klan and the American flag into the new Confederate flag. It's really sad.
— Tiffani Patterson (@Tiffspeaks1971) January 5, 2021
Let me fix that for you… KKKristians!
— Lynnez ❤️ Rib Gone Rogue (@Lynnenallo) January 5, 2021
Horrifying. Supporting hate crime. Appalling.
— Bonar (@Bonar69366991) January 5, 2021
Give Send Go also helped raise the $2 million bond money towards releasing Kyle Rittenhouse – the 17-year-old who fatally shot two people and severely injured a third at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The site also provided a platform to raise money for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who faces charges for allegedly killing two protesters and wounding a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. See: https://t.co/tl87Vg8d9j
— Lillian Williams, Ph.D. (@lwilliams333) January 5, 2021
According to CNN, DC Metropolitan Police Department Public Information Officer Sean Hickman said Tarrio was charged with the alleged possession of firearm magazines.
“He was charged with Destruction of Property related to an offense that occurred on Saturday, December 12, 2020 in the 900 block of 11th Street, Northwest.”
“At the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of two high capacity firearm magazines. He was additionally charged with Possession of High Capacity Feeding Device.”
In a police report, Tarrio said the clips were for selling, and the ones he carried – emblazoned with the Proud Boys insignia including a laurel wreath and a rooster – were intended for a customer who purchased them from an online store.
According to court papers, Tarrio said:
“I had a customer that bought those two mags, and they got returned ’cause it was a wrong address.”
“And I contacted him, and he’s like, ‘I’m going to be in DC,’ so I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll take ‘em to you.’ So that I can show you proof ….I can give you, like my invoices and stuff like that from it, and, like, the USPS shipping label.”
Tarrio came forward about the burning of the Black Lives Matter flag when it was characterized by law enforcement officials as a possible hate crime, which he vehemently denied.
He claimed in an interview with DCist/WAMU that the term “hate crime” falsely implied the act was motivated by race, religious affiliation, and cultural background.
“The crime that was committed was, yeah, OK, it was destruction of property, fine.”
“But I wanna see if this hate crime thing is a thing … I want to see what a jury of my peers would think.”
On Tuesday, D.C. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Renee Raymond released Tarrio on his own recognizance.
However, Tarrio is currently banned from entering the nation’s capital except for very limited conditions – including meeting with his attorney or attending a court date, according to The Associated Press.