Just days before a massive demonstration of Trump supporters in Washington, D.C., the leader of the right-wing group the “Proud Boys” was arrested in the nation’s capital.
Thirty-six-year-old Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of the organization and a resident of Miami, Florida, was arrested on Monday by D.C. Metropolitan police officer in connection with an incident involving the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner in early December, The Washington Post reported.
Tarrio was also allegedly in possession of two high-capacity firearms magazines, and was charged with having a “high-capacity feeding device.”
On Dec. 12, Tarrio and other members of the Proud Boys were caught on camera burning what appeared to be a large, “Black Lives Matter” banner that was allegedly taken from the nearby Asbury United Methodist Church — a historically Black church.
According to D.C. police, the Proud Boys leader was cited for one misdemeanor count of destruction of property with concern to the banner burning, which took place on the evening after a massive pro-Trump rally.
The Proud Boys and Trump supporters burn the BLM banner while chanting and cheering in downtown DC: pic.twitter.com/L16azBBhbr
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) December 13, 2020
After the incident, Tarrio said in an interview that if he were charged, he would would plead guilty to burning the banner, but not to committing a hate crime.
“I’ll fly there on my own dime,” he told The Post.
Tarrio’s arrest comes just days before tens of thousands — or more — of President Trump’s supporters will flood the streets of the nation’s capital as over 100 House Republican lawmakers and at least a dozen GOP senators formally object to the Electoral College certification on Jan. 6.
According to Newsweek, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has already activated hundreds of National Guard troops in anticipation for what the president originally touted as a “wild” demonstration set to take place on Wednesday.
“At the request of Mayor Muriel Bowser, the District of Columbia National Guard is in a support role to the Metropolitan Police Department which will enable them to provide a safe environment for our fellow citizens to exercise their first amendment right to demonstrate,” said Maj. Gen. William J. Walker.
Local law enforcement and city workers have already deployed rows of barricades and have shut down businesses and other establishments in the vicinity of where the large demonstration will happen.