Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, 37, has been released from jail after serving a five-month sentence for burning a Black Lives Matter flag outside of a black church.
Tarrio, who was also convicted of being in possession of an illegal rifle magazine, was snapped carrying a trash bag full of his possessions as well as a folder full of papers as he left the DC Central Detention Facility on Friday.
Despite previously claiming to have stood down as the far right group’s leader, he sported a t-shirt saying ‘Free the Proud Boys by any means necessary.’
He greeted his mother and fiancée outside of the DC Central Detention Facility with a big smile under his mask and was met with a swarm of media attention. The mother and son shared warm hug as they celebrated his release and his mother took a load off his arms by taking the file folder from him.
He also hugged his fiancée as he lovingly looked down at her as they spoke outside of the facility.
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio leaves the DC Central Detention Facility after serving five months in jail quite on brand as he wore a #FreeTheProudBoys shirt
He was greeted by his mother and a wardrobe malfunction, as he forgot to zip his fly after his last strip search
He was sentenced to five months in jail for burning a Black Lives Matter flag and for a weapons violation
Tarrio seen holding a Trump megaphone in December 2020
He spoke to the press before lugging his hefty bag of belongings to the car, where he then poked his head out the window and shot a peace sign to reporters.
Tarrio has been in jail since September for stealing and burning a black church’s BLM flag, and being caught in possession of high-capacity magazines in DC, even though they’re banned by local laws.
He was convicted of burning a BLM flag belonging to a black Methodist church, and for bringing a rifle magazine that is banned in DC within city limits.
Tarrio insisted he didn’t know that the church whose flag he’s targeted housed a black congregation, and insisted his behavior had only been intended as general protest against the anti-police brutality group.
Just before Tarrio was set to turn himself into prison on September 6, he went to the Capitol. Tarrio was snapped smiling while brandishing the lighter in front of the seat of the US government in Washington DC on Monday night.
He was standing several hundred feet in front of the building, but used a technique called forced perspective to make it look as if he was trying to torch the building’s famous white dome.
Tarrio posed for the snap shortly before heading to a jail in the city after he was convicted of burning a BLM flag belonging to a black Methodist church, and for bringing a rifle magazine that is banned in DC within city limits.
Tarrio and an unnamed pal were filmed singing a sea shanty called A Drop of Nelson’s Blood as they walked up to the gates, and had a hug before Tarrio left his pal to begin his sentence.
A warm reunion: Tarrio was met with loving embraces from his fiancée (left) and mother (right)
He carried a large, heavy bag full of his leftover commissary and a file folder of newspaper clippings and loose-leaf paper
He shot a peace sign to reporters as he drove away from the DC jail
Speaking to WUSA 9 reporter Eric Flack as he prepared to walk up to the jail gate Tarrio said: ‘I’ve nothing to say to the members of that church or congregation anymore. I already apologized to them once…
‘The same justice system that Black Lives Matter fights for is the same justice system championing my arrest, and I find that hysterical.’
He added: ‘Yes I did burn their property and I apologized to them, but after what I heard from them this was strictly political. They wanted to put the bad guy, the villain, in jail, and congratulations – they have.’
The Proud Boys chairman, 37, had earlier claimed he was ‘at peace’ with reporting to a jail in Washington DC by midnight to begin a five-month jail sentence.
Tarrio headed to jail hours after his lawyers filed a 67-page appeal calling for his sentence to be shortened.
His appeal said sentencing Judge Harold L Cushenberry treated Tarrio far more harshly than a sex offender called Irun Warner, who Cushenberry sentenced for groping a woman’s buttocks in August 2021.
The extremist group leader was met with a swarm of media attention after his release
Cushenberry gave Warner a suspended sentence for misdemeanor sex abuse just two days after ordering Tarrio to spend 155 days in jail.
Tarrio’s appeal against his sentence said: ‘It is simply inexplicable how it would be justifiable to sentence Mr. Tarrio to serve 155 days of executed jail time for burning a piece of cloth and possessing an ammunition feeding device that did not contain ammunition when the same judge, only days later, sentenced another defendant who sexually abused a victim to serve absolutely no jail time.’
The filing also detailed how Judge Cushenberry’s daughter had been baptized at Asbury Methodist Church in Washington DC – whose flag Tarrio admitted destroying.
Cushenberry offered to recuse himself on revealing that information to Tarrio at the Proud Boy leader’s plea hearing on July 19, but was not asked to do so.
Tarrio apologized over the flag burning, and said he did not realize it had come from the historically-black church.
The banner was emblazoned with the name of the church’s website, but Tarrio, who is from Florida, told the court he had no idea what the web address was linked to
His lawyers have also said that Tarrio’s sentence was influenced by Cushenberry’s decision to hear testimony from Asbury’s pastor the Rev Dr. Lanther M Mills, who said parishioners had been traumatized by the flag burning, and who branded it racist.
Tarrio (pictured in September) pretended to hold a lighter to the US Capitol before reporting to a Washington DC jail to begin a five-month sentence in September
He sold the Black Lives Matter flag from a black Methodist church (pictured)
Tarrio’s legal filing said Mills’ victim impact statement should not have been taken into account because prosecutors were unable to offer any proof that Tarrio knew the flag came from a church.
The filing said that Tarrio’s sentence ‘is unreasonably harsh and disproportionate when taking into account the goals of sentencing.’
It also highlighted how the sentence handed to Tarrio exceeded the three month incarceration prosecutors had recommended for him.
The BLM banner burning took place in December 2020.
He filed for an early release, citing inhumane condition and wanted to be placed on house arrest, but was denied in November. The judge ruled that insufficient housing was not a reason to be released from jail.
‘I’ve been to jail before and what I’ve seen here, I’ve never seen anywhere else,’ he wrote in his request. ‘This place needs to be shut down immediately.’
He said he had to deal with abuse from correctional officers, medicinal neglect, and living in unsanitary conditions.