A judge ordered Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio to stay out of Washington, D.C., after the 36-year-old was charged Monday for allegedly destroying a Black Lives Matter banner taken from the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church during protests on Dec. 12.
D.C. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Renee Raymond released Tarrio on Tuesday, ordering him to stay outside the district until his next hearing, scheduled for June. Notably, there is a protest set for Wednesday, Jan. 6, in Washington, D.C., to show support for President Donald Trump’s legal contests concerning the 2020 presidential election.
According to video of the incident, it remains unclear if Tarrio, surrounded by two others holding lighters, was the one to light the banner on fire. Tarrio has also denied knowing that the banner came from the church. The Washington Post reported:
The arrest warrant unsealed Tuesday morning in D.C. Superior Court says video and photos posted on social media do not show Tarrio “personally lighting the banner on fire or holding an open flame to it.” But the warrant also says, “The available video does not preclude defendant Tarrio had an opportunity to apply an open flame to the banner.”
During an interview with The Washington Post in December, the group leader apparently said he burned the banner and refused to comment on the other two men associated with the Proud Boys who were holding lighters. Tarrio has since refused to comment on specifics about the banner burning, referring to his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to a police warrant.
“Tarrio reportedly asked the judge to only ban him from Black Lives Matter plaza near the White House in downtown D.C., but that request was denied,” The Hill reported Tuesday. “Tarrio was arrested Monday upon his arrival in the city and charged with destruction of property, and also received weapons charges after he was found to be in possession of two illegal high-capacity firearm magazines.”
The Washington Post said Tuesday that Tarrio could face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for a count of the destruction of property, noting that the punishment could be steeper if he’s charged with a hate crime. The charge pertaining to the ammunition magazine carries a maximum of three years in prison, the Post added.
Judge Raymond reportedly said during the hearing that “she did not believe that signs, banners, and other personal property in support of the Black Lives Matter movement around the city would be safe if Tarrio was permitted in the city,” The Hill noted.
“There are ‘Black Lives Matter’ banners, posters, placards, signs in front of people’s homes and the like throughout Washington, D.C.,” the judge reportedly said.
Democratic Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has indicated that she’s evaluating an order of a curfew for the upcoming protests.