Proud Boys leader arrested; accused of burning church banner

US police have arrested the leader of the right-wing Proud Boys group who is accused of burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was torn down from an historic Black church in downtown Washington last month.

Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, 36, was arrested by Metropolitan Police Department officers after he arrived in Washington, DC, on Monday ahead of protests planned by supporters of President Donald Trump to coincide with the congressional vote expected on Wednesday to affirm Joe Biden’s election victory.

Tarrio was taken into custody after a warrant was issued for his arrest for destruction of property, police said. He also faces a weapons charges after officers found him with two high-capacity firearm magazines when he was arrested, a police spokesman said.

A pro-Trump rally in December ended in violence as hundreds of Trump supporters – some wearing the signature black and yellow of the Proud Boys – sought out confrontations with a collective of activists and counter-protesters attempting to bar them from Black Lives Matter Plaza, an area near the White House.

By nightfall, vandals tore down a Black Lives Matter banner and sign from two historic Black churches in downtown Washington and set the banner ablaze.

Video posted online showed people pouring fuel on a Black Lives Matter banner near the Asbury United Methodist Church and setting it ablaze in the street as others cheered and cursed last month. One of the videos showed someone walking up about a minute later and using a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

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