Police have arrested Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, days ahead of the far right’s plans to hold mass protests in the Capitol against the 2020 election results.
The New York Times reports that Tarrio was arrested on charges of destruction of property related to his suspected involvement in burning a Black church’s Black Lives Matter banner during last month’s D.C. protests. Tarrio was also charged for the possession of two “high-capacity firearm magazines,” which police discovered upon his arrest, according to the outlet.
The Proud Boys are also being sued by Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Black church where the alleged damage occurred.
“The conduct of the Proud Boys in Washington, D.C. on December 12, 2020 amounted to a new and dangerous chapter in the long and terrible history of white supremacist mob violence targeting Black houses of worship,” the suit reads.
The church was reportedly one of two Black churches that had their Black Lives Matter banners torn down at the time. At the other, Asbury United Methodist Church, senior pastor Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills reported that MAGA demonstrators had “literally burned it in the street.”
“Seeing this act on video made me both indignant and determined to fight the evil that has reared its ugly head,” he wrote in a statement. “We had been so confident that no one would ever vandalize the church, but it has happened.”
Black Lives Matters organizers on the ground reported that the police who were present at the protests appeared to be protecting the Proud Boys and other Trump supporters on their path of racist violence and destruction. The demonstrations ultimately resulted in four stabbings and one gunshot wound.
The Proud Boys and other far-right groups and individuals have promised to escalate the violence of that night on Tuesday and Wednesday, when they will once again descend on the Capitol to dispute the election outcome. This time many of them intend to take the White House for Trump by force. Screenshots from an alt-right message board showed Trump supporters discussing the last goodbyes they made to their families in the event that they don’t survive this week’s protests.
In preparation, Mayor Muriel Bowser requested back-up from the Army National Guard on Monday, and warned residents to avoid downtown D.C.
If Trump’s intentions of pulling off a coup were ever ambiguous, his supporters have made it much clearer.