Lawyers for a D.C. church suing Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio for setting fire to its “Black Lives Matter” sign have asked a judge to rule against the defendant for ignoring their suit.
Attorneys for Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in the civil suit against Mr. Tarrio filed a motion Tuesday requesting that a default judgment be entered against the defendant.
“BLM” signs were stolen from AME and another historic Black church on the night of Dec. 12 during a demonstration in D.C. involving several uniformed members of the all-male Proud Boys group.
Mr. Tarrio, a Florida resident and self-described chairman of the Proud Boys, later admitted to being among its members who set fire to one of the “BLM” signs and dared police to arrest him.
Indeed, Mr. Tarrio was arrested the next month in D.C. on a misdemeanor count of destruction of property. Police said he was in possession of illegal ammo magazines and charged him over that, too.
Separately, lawyers for Metropolitan AME filed a complaint in D.C. Superior Court accusing Mr. Tarrio of counts including bias-related conspiracy and theft and defacement of private property, among other charges.
Mr. Tarrio was served a copy of the lawsuit on Jan. 5 as he was released from a D.C. jail, according to court filings. He has not responded to the claims within 21 days as required, however.
Nearly a month since missing that deadline — and more than a week since a court-approved extension came and went — Metropolitan AME now argues it is past due for Mr. Tarrio to lose the litigation by default.
“Tarrio has failed to file a response – or event appear – in this matter. Accordingly, an order of default against Tarrio is appropriate and should be entered forthwith,” the lawyers wrote.
The complaint seeks unspecified compensation for consequential and incidental damages, as well as for emotional damage blamed on the defendant and for punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
Mr. Tarrio told The Washington Times on Thursday that he considered the church’s claims to be “frivolous and ridiculous” and that he has yet to hire a defense lawyer to represent him in court.
“To be honest with you, I don’t care,” Mr. Tarrio told The Times. “They’re not going to get anything out of me. If they want to parade this win, that’s fine.”
Mr. Tarrio was banned from D.C. after his arrest last month, effectively preventing him from joining other protesters in demonstrating against the results of the presidential election as planned.
Several other Proud Boys were later seen among the mobs of supporters of former President Trump who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the day Congress met to affirm the results of the election.
Federal prosecutors have subsequently arrested and charged a number of self-identifying Proud Boys from around the country with related crimes, including some described as having leadership roles.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tarrio risks the real possibility of being re-arrested as well. He was recently deemed a “loss of contact” by the Pretrial Services Agency for D.C., resulting in Superior Court Judge Robert Okun scheduling a hearing next Monday where Mr. Tarrio will be expected to make his case for why the conditions of his release should not be accordingly revoked or modified.