Attorney Kristen Clarke Sues Proud Boys For Sick Caucasian Attack On AME Church

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Written by Ann Brown
Proud Boys
Attorney Kristen Clarke Sues Proud Boys For Sick Caucasian Attack On AME Church. Photo: People wearing shirts with Proud Boys on them join supporters of President Donald Trump in a march, Nov. 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Pro-Trump protesters and members of the far-right Neo-fascist Proud Boys attacked two Black historic churches in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.

In videos posted on Twitter, they were seen marching with a Black Lives Matter banner held above their heads, cheering as they set it on fire, The Washington Post reported.

The banner was stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church, one of the oldest Black churches in D.C. 

Another video showed a Black Lives Matter sign being torn down from in front of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. The group destroyed the sign from the church whose worshipers have included historic leaders such as Frederick Douglass, and presidents, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and William Howard Taft.

The police said they are investigating the incidents as hate crimes and have arrested one of the leaders of the mainly white male group. Ironically, Proud Boys leader Henry Enrique Tarrio is a Black Cuban American.

While the police said they were handling the incidents, civil rights attorney Kristen Clarke is taking the fight to court. She has filed a suit against the Proud Boys on behalf of Metropolitan AME church.

“We are suing the Proud Boys and their members for the racist attack on Metropolitan AME church in Washington DC,” Clarke tweeted. “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.”

Clarke added, “Our suit seeks to hold accountable those responsible for vandalizing and terrorizing a historic Black church because of its support for racial justice. This attack is a new chapter in a long and despicable history of mob violence targeting Black houses of worship”

Clarke pointed out the historic significance of the church, tweeting that Metropolitan AME church was founded in 1872 and is led by Rev. William Lamar, IV.

She later tweeted, “We want to make clear to the Proud Boys and other extremists who dare to assault our institutions, our humanity and our dignity, that we will stand up and hold them accountable. Attacks on Black churches have no place in society today.”

Some on Twitter questioned Clarke’s move, saying that the lawsuit could set a bad precedent.

“Does this mean people who’s businesses were damaged during BLM protests can sue BLM the org? That seems like a terrible precedent,” one person tweeted.

Another said, “I would think potentially so if there was evidence BLM was actively inciting their followers (or even just random members of the public) to commit violence. Unfortunately for the so-called Proud Boys, there are receipts.”

Others praised Clarke.

“I’m an AME and I thank you for acting on behalf of this beautiful church. These racist actions were no different than a church burning & if they had had the match, they would have done exactly that. #BeulahMaeDonald is somewhere smiling. Take them down,” one posted on Twitter.

Another said, “Thank you, Counselor for taking up this case. I haven’t lived in the DC metro area for 15 years but I was raised in Metropolitan AME Church and know the history of it. This issue is close to my heart.”

https://twitter.com/justmesrr/status/1346219538547843073?s=20

Clarke’s lawsuit names Tarrio, who admitted to burning the BLM banner.

“In the burning of the BLM sign, I was the one that lit it on fire,” Tarrio said on War Boys, a podcast tied to the Proud Boys, the Miami Herald reported. “I was the person that went ahead and put the lighter to it and engulfed it in flames, and I am damn proud that I did.”

Tarrio, the chairman of the Proud Boys, was arrested in D.C. Monday night and charged with destruction of property for allegedly destroying BLM signs at a protest in December, 10 Tampa Bay News reported

“MPD members arrested 36-year-old Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio, of Miami, FL,”  D.C. Police said in a statement. “He was charged with Destruction of Property related to an offense that occurred on Saturday, December 12, 2020 in the 900 block of 11th Street, Northwest.” 

D.C. Police also said that when Tarrio was arrested, he had “two high capacity firearm magazines,” so he was charged for possession as well.

The lawsuit defendants include not only Tarrio but also Proud Boys International LLC and a number of unidentified Proud Boys members involved in the incident, WUSA9 reported. The suit cites a federal statute that prohibits intentionally damaging or destroying property of a place of religious worship.

“We know that Black churches have long played a central role in organizing for racial justice,” Clarke told CBS 19. “They’re often at the heart of Black community organizing.” 

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.

Clarke, the president and executive director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said she hopes the lawsuit stops others from attacking Black churches. 

“The Proud Boys and other violent extremists must understand that they cannot unleash violence with impunity,” Clarke said. “We are prepared to use the courts to hold them accountable and stand up for the institutions and people targeted by their racist actions.”