The leader of the Proud Boys, a far-right fringe group associated with violence, was arrested Monday in Washington, D.C., soon after arriving in the nation's capital ahead of protests in support of outgoing President Donald Trump.
Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, 36, was arrested by Metropolitan Police Department officers on a charge of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner last month, reports the Associated Press, FOX 5 DC, and WUSA.
The banner was removed from a historic Black church in downtown Washington and set ablaze.
Tarrio was taken into custody on a warrant charging him with destruction of property. He also faces a weapons charges after officers allegedly found him with two high-capacity firearm magazines when he was arrested, police said, according to the reports.
Following a pro-Trump rally in early December, protestors tore down a Black Lives Matter banner and a sign from two historic Black churches. The banner was set on fire near the Asbury United Methodist Church.
Video of the banner burning posted online shows an accelerant being used to light the banner on fire.
Tarrio had spoken to the Washington Post about the incident, and admitted to participating in the burning of the Black Lives Matter banner.
He also told the paper he plans to plead guilty to destruction of property and will reimburse the the church for the cost of the banner.
A Black Lives Matter sign was also removed and vandalized at the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church.
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While police had initially said they were investigating the incidences as potential hate crimes, no such charge has been filed against Tarrio.
PEOPLE's attempts to reach Tarrio Tuesday were unsuccessful.
It was not immediately clear if Tarrio had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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