DC Church Awarded $1 Million After Proud Boys Burn BLM Banner

[Photo by MUSTAFA HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images]

Julianna Frieman Contributor
Font Size:

A D.C. church was awarded $1 million Friday after members of the Proud Boys burned its BLM banner during a 2020 demonstration.

Superior Court Associate Judge Neal A. Kravitz ruled in favor of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. following a lawsuit filed against the right-wing group for burning its “Black Lives Matter” banner, according to Associated Press.

The judge also banned the Proud Boys from coming near the black church or making defamatory remarks against the parish and its pastor for five years.

The ruling was issued as a default judgment after the defendants decided not to appear in court to fight the case (RELATED: Oath Keepers Leader Sentenced To 18 Years For Role In Jan. 6 Riot).

The lawsuit was filed against the Proud Boys, the group’s chairman, Enrique Tarrio, and eight anonymous members in 2021. It accused defendants of violating D.C. and federal law by trespassing and destroying religious property in an act motivated by prejudice.

The incident involved defendants who reportedly climbed over a fence surrounding the church to destroy the BLM banner during a Dec. 12 pro-Trump rally. There were reportedly clashes between supporters of the former president and dissidents leading up to the destruction. Police initially investigated the act as a hate crime.

Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills, the pastor of the church, soon responded to the vandalism after it occurred.

“Last night demonstrators who were part of the MAGA gatherings tore down our Black Lives Matter sign and literally burned it in the street. The sign burning was captured on Twitter. It pained me especially to see our name, Asbury, in flames. For me it was reminiscent of cross burnings,” Mills wrote. “Seeing this act on video made me both indignant and determined to fight the evil that has reared its ugly head. We had been so confident that no one would ever vandalize the church, but it has happened.”

Tarrio pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges related to the incident of property destruction and attempted possession of a high-capacity magazine in July 2021.

Tarrio and other members of the Proud Boys face separate charges of seditious conspiracy related to the Jan. 6, 2021 chaos at the U.S. Capitol.