Civil rights group sues Proud Boys over ‘racist attack’ on DC church
A legal organization specializing in civil rights cases announced Monday that it was suing the Proud Boys and one of its founders, Enrique Tarrio, over vandalism of a historically Black church in Washington, D.C.
In court filings posted to Twitter, the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law revealed that the group was representing the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, one of the city’s oldest churches built in 1886.
“We are suing the Proud Boys and their members for the racist attack on Metropolitan AME church in Washington DC. This attack was one of several levied against churches targeted for their support of the Black Lives Matter movement,” wrote the committee’s president, Kristen Clarke, who added: “The Proud Boys are NOT above the law.”
BREAKING: We are suing the Proud Boys and their members for the racist attack on Metropolitan AME church in Washington DC. This attack was one of several levied against churches targeted for their support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Proud Boys are NOT above the law. pic.twitter.com/CB53Upi9wH
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) January 4, 2021
The suit, which also names unidentified members of the Proud Boys organization, centers around an incident that occurred in December when numerous individuals purportedly involved with the Proud Boys ripped down a sign bearing the words “Black Lives Matter” from the AME church.
Another historically-Black church, the Asbury United Methodist Church, saw a banner torn down by others apparently affiliated with or supporting the Proud Boys. Both incidents were caught on video and shared widely on social media.
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) December 13, 2020
Proud Boys sitting outside of Harry’s cheer as more members come down the street with a large BLM banner pic.twitter.com/VGYxqBt1As
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) December 13, 2020
An all-male right-wing group, the Proud Boys are known for targeting left-leaning protesters, particularly those protesting police brutality and racism, with counterdemonstrations that frequently result in violence.
The incidents were condemned at the time by Asbury United Methodist’s pastor, the Rev. Ianther Mills, as well as D.C.’s mayor, Muriel Bowser (D).
“Last night demonstrators who were part of the MAGA gatherings tore down our Black Lives Matter sign and literally burned it in the street,” said Mills in December. “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.”
“DC’s faith-based organizations are at the very heart of our community, giving us hope in the face of darkness. They embody our DC values of love and inclusivity. An attack on them is an attack on all of us,” Bowser added at the time.