Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Sentenced to 155 Days in D.C. Jail

Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio smiles after being sentenced on August 23.
Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio smiles after being sentenced on August 23. Photo by Joshua Ceballos
Enrique Tarrio shouldn't have much to smile about after pleading guilty to destruction of property and attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on Monday afternoon.

But that's exactly what the Proud Boys chairman did when Judge Harold L. Cushenberry, Jr., sentenced him to 155 days in a Washington, D.C., jail — a sentence that exceeded what prosecutors had recommended.

"Like Jeffrey Epstein, I'm not going to kill myself in jail," Tarrio quipped to New Times after his sentencing.

The charges pertain to a December 12, 2020, incident in which unidentified Proud Boys members allegedly burned a Black Lives Matter banner from Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. Tarrio had posted photos on his Parler social-media account holding a lighter and the banner from the historic Black church. He was arrested when he returned to D.C. on January 4, two days before the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He had two high-capacity magazines in his possession.

The Proud Boys were founded in 2016 as a largely pro-Donald Trump fraternal organization, whose members describe themselves as "Western chauvinists" and "anti-white guilt." The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the Proud Boys a hate group in 2018, and several of its members, including founder Gavin McInnes, have espoused racist and anti-Semitic beliefs. The group has been associated with political violence, as members have brawled with anti-fascist protesters throughout the U.S.

Tarrio signed in to the virtual proceedings from his studio in Westchester as friends and family watched from another room. Relatives burst into tears when they heard the news, but Tarrio maintained his cheeky demeanor.

The judge said Tarrio has two weeks to turn himself in. Tarrio says he'll drive to D.C. in the coming days.

Though prosecutors recommended a three-month sentence, the judge sentenced Tarrio to nearly five months.

"Mr. Tarrio did not care," Judge Cushenberry said during the hearing. "That's what I think. He cared about himself and self-promotion. He didn't care about the laws of the District of Columbia."

Tarrio's lawyers are confident he'll be released early for good behavior. The sentence also includes three years of probation.

Tarrio seemed unfazed by the proceedings. After the hearing was over, he shrugged, saying he'd "be out shortly after Christmas."
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Joshua Ceballos is staff writer for Miami New Times. He is a Florida International University alum and a born-and-bred Miami boy.
Contact: Joshua Ceballos
Jess Swanson is the news editor at New Times. She graduated from the University of Miami and has a master's degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism.
Contact: Jess Swanson