A historic Black church in Washington D.C. has filed a lawsuit against the Proud Boys for destroying the church’s Black Lives Matter sign during a pro-Trump march in December.
On Monday (Jan. 4), the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church filed a suit against the far-right group and their leader, Enrique Tarrio, for destruction of property, conspiracy and trespassing. The lawsuit states that members of the Proud Boys jumped over the church’s fence and tore down a six-foot plastic sign. They also ripped the sign apart on the sidewalk.
Multiple videos of the incident were posted on social media and appeared to show members of the Proud Boys destroying the church’s sign while chanting.
“Black churches and other religious institutions have a long and ugly history of being targeted by white supremacists in racist and violent attacks meant to intimidate and create fear,” Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law wrote in a statement on Monday. “Our lawsuit aims to hold those who engage in such action accountable.”
In December, Tarrio admitted that he was responsible for burning a Black Lives Matter sign at Asbury United Methodist Church, which is another historical Black church in the nation’s capital. The lawsuit says that he even bragged about his behavior on social media.
Last month, D.C. police announced that they were investigating the damages to Metropolitan AME and Asbury’s Black Lives Matter signs as possible hate crime charges. Tarrio told The Washington Post that he was ready to plead guilty for burning the sign at Asbury.
On Wednesday (Jan. 6), several pro-Trump groups are planning to protest Congress’ certification of the Electoral College results. The groups are supporting the president’s false claims of voter fraud. Several members of the Proud Boys say they plan to attend this week’s protest. D.C. police will reportedly offer extra security to places of worship during these demonstrations.