Story at a glance
- The suit accuses members of the extremist group of committing acts of terror.
- Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio has declined to answer the suit.
- Metropolitan AME’s potential victory could leave the Proud Boy’s assets vulnerable.
A historically Black church in Washington D.C. has a shot to derail the future of a far-right extremist group.
The Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C., one of the oldest historically Black churches in the U.S., is filing a lawsuit against the Proud Boys for allegedly destroying Black Lives Matter signs at its church during a pro-Trump rally in Dec. 2020, VICE reported. The suit alleges that the extremist group committed an act of terror.
“The conduct of the Proud Boys in Washington, D.C., on December 12, 2020, amounted to a new and dangerous chapter in the long and terrible history of white supremacist mob violence targeting Black houses of worship,” the Metropolitan AME’s lawsuit reads.
Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio has declined to respond to the suit, and the church is mere days away from capturing a de facto victory — a feat that Tarrio claims does not matter.
But the Metropolitan AME’s possible victory could leave the Proud Boy’s assets vulnerable, even though Tarrio claims his group is not a “legal entity,” adding that he is uncertain about what finances the church would try to go after.
"If they try to go after mine, I'd be happy to drag my balls across their face in court," Tarrio told VICE.
Tarrio, who was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for his role in the destruction of the signs, is the only named defendant in the lawsuit — he previously said the lawsuit was “frivolous” in an interview with The Washington Times.
“To be honest with you, I don’t care,” Tarrio told the Times. “They’re not going to get anything out of me. If they want to parade this win, that’s fine.”
Yet, a VICE News review of documents revealed possible links between the far-right group and various LLC’s in Florida and websites selling pro-Trump regalia. Legal experts, however, told VICE that the entire process of seizing assets loosely associated with the Proud Boys could be a relatively complex legal process.
But Metropolitan AME’s potential victory could open the floodgates to a deluge of intelligence about how the organization functions, which could lead to further subpoenas and hearings, VICE reported. With that knowledge the church could target group members’ personal assets.
“You could potentially take their houses, and run them into the ground,” Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor explained to VICE. “They might have thought they were just having some fun with a little sign-burning, only to have their financial future placed under a permanent cloud.”
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