Who is Henry Tarrio? Proud Boys leader arrested over burning church's Black Lives Matter banner

Tarrio is the chairman of Proud Boys and admitted to being part of the burning of a BLM banner in protests in December


                            Who is Henry Tarrio? Proud Boys leader arrested over burning church's Black Lives Matter banner
Henry 'Enrique' Tarrio (Wikimedia/Creative Commons)
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Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, the chairman of the neo-fascist, far-right, male-only organization, Proud Boys, was arrested in DC on Monday, January 4,  after a warrant was issued for his arrest for destruction of property. Tarrio was accused of burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was torn down from a historic Black church in downtown Washington in December 2020. He is also facing weapons charges after officers found him with two high-capacity firearm magazines when he was arrested.

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Tarrio was arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department after he arrived in Washington DC to take in more protests against the certification of the presidential election results that would affirm former Vice President, Joe Biden's victory. 

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Armed members of the far-right Proud Boys groups stand guard during a memorial for Patriot Prayer member Aaron Jay Danielson on September 5, 2020, in Vancouver, Washington (Getty Images

Tarrio had taken part in a pro-Trump rally in December that ended in violence as Trump supporters -- some wearing the Proud Boys' signature black and yellow -- confronted activists and counterprotesters attempting to block them from the Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House. Vandals tore down the Black Lives Matter banner and sign from two historic Black churches in downtown Washington and set the banner on fire. The banner was stolen from the Asbury United Methodist Church. Tarrio admitted to The Washington Post that he had taken part in the burning of the BLM banner and said he would plead guilty to destruction of property and pay the cost of the banner to the church.

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Who is Henry "Enrique" Tarrio?

Henry "Enrique" Tarrio is 36 years old and lives in Miami Dade, Florida. He identifies as Afro-Cuban and was raised in a Cuban family in Little Havana in Miami. He told Heavy in 2018 that he was "lured" to the Proud Boys because it was a similar atmosphere to the home he grew up in. He told the outlet, "My house, at like 7 o’clock in the morning, there’s like 20 people, in my house, talking about politics, roasting each other, just making fun of each other. I was brought up in that environment, so that kind of brings me into the fuckery that comes along with being a Proud Boy."

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He also told the publication on being appointed the chairman that the group will "not change what we do," saying, "We’re just, basically, a group of guys that hang out and drink beer together and just have a good time. Obviously, we’re a political group but that’s secondary in nature. We just enjoy our time with our brotherhood."

Members of the Proud Boys gather outside of Harry's bar during a protest on December 12, 2020, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

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At the age of just 20 years old in 2004, Tarrio was convicted of theft, and sentenced to three years of probation, community service, and ordered to pay restitution. In 2013, he was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for rebranding and reselling stolen medical devices. Of his sentence, he only spent 16 months in prison. He owns a Miami T-shirt business known as the 1776 Shop, an online vendor for right-wing merchandise that sells Proud Boys gear including shirts stating "Pinochet did nothing wrong."

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Tarrio had run for Congress for Florida's 27th district in 2020 but withdrew before the Republican Party primary.