The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church filed a lawsuit against the Proud Boys and their leader, Enrique Tarrio, in D.C. Superior Court Monday, saying the group trespassed on its property and destroyed its Black Lives Matter banner.
Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys, was arrested and charged Monday with destroying the property of another church, Asbury United Methodist Church, D.C. police confirmed.
A D.C. Superior Court judge released Tarrio on Tuesday, ordering him to stay out of Washington, D.C., pending his next court appearance on June 8, according to NBC News.
Tarrio’s lawyer asked Magistrate Judge Renee Raymond to limit her stay-away order to Black Lives Matter Plaza and the surrounding areas, rather than the entire District, but Raymond declined.
Raymond said Tarrio’s public admission to burning the BLM sign and a meme posted to his Parler account about burning another sign indicated his intention to destroy more property in D.C.
Raymond pointed out there is Black Lives Matter signage all over D.C., not just in the downtown area.
"At the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of two high capacity firearm magazines. He was additionally charged with possession of a high capacity feeding device," D.C. police said.
Asbury United Methodist church released a statement to News4 saying they are committed to messages of love and inclusiveness.
Tarrio's arrest came days before thousands of people are expected to participate in far-right demonstrations Wednesday over the election results as Congress meets to certify Electoral College votes.
On Dec. 12, pro-Trump protests shook downtown D.C. as demonstrators and counterprotesters clashed, leaving at least four people stabbed and another 33 arrested. Four churches were vandalized, and two of them, Metropolitan AME Church and Asbury United Methodist Church, had Black Lives Matter banners destroyed.
Tarrio took responsibility days later for burning a church's banner but denied that it was racially motivated.
The incidents were being investigated as hate crimes, D.C. police said.
Lawyers for Metropolitan AME Church said in a statement that it “suffered from the defendants’ coordinated acts of violence when Proud Boys members climbed over a fence surrounding the church, came on to church property, tore down and destroyed a large Black Lives Matter sign the church was proudly displaying in what constituted clear acts of trespass, theft, and destruction of property.”
Metropolitan AME Church is seeking compensatory damages and "declaratory relief stating that the Defendants have committed crimes that were motivated by bias under the D.C. Bias-Related Crime Act," according to the statement.
“Metropolitan AME was subjected to a vicious and horrendous attack,” said Kristen Clarke, President of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. “It’s incredibly important that law enforcement agencies make clear that they will hold members of the Proud Boys accountable when they violate people’s civil rights and cause harm to innocent individuals and institutions.”