DC church sues Proud Boys over damage after December rally

A D.C. church has filed suit against the extremist group accused of damaging its property during last month’s pro-Trump rally.

The lawsuit names the Proud Boys as those responsible for ripping down and destroying a Black Lives Matter banner at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church on M Street in Northwest Dec. 12, and it says they committed several other violent acts in the District that night.

The suit was filed in D.C. Superior Court, naming Proud Boys International LLC, Chairman Enrique Tarrio and numerous John Doe members who participated in the banner burning. The suit claims Tarrio has said outright on social media that he burned the banner and “I’ll [expletive] do it again.”

After arriving in the area Monday afternoon, Tarrio was arrested on charges of destroying property.

The suit makes numerous claims, including some brought under the D.C. Bias-Related Crime Act of 1989.

“When we look throughout recent time, we see a pattern and practice of the Proud Boys espousing racial hate and violence,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, who filed the suit on behalf of the church. “These attacks are the same as modern-day cross burning and meant to put fear into Black people.”

Other claims are related to alleged trespass and a violation of the federal Freedom of Access of Clinic Entrances Act.

“This is an important federal law. It prohibits intentionally damaging or destroying property of a place of religious worship,” said Clarke.

The plaintiffs hope the lawsuit sends a clear message: “The Proud Boys and other violent extremists must understand they cannot unleash mob violence with impunity,” said Clarke.

WTOP has reached out to the Proud Boys for comment but have not received a response.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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