Friday, 7 July 2023

Proud Boys fined $1.03M for burning BLM sign during 2020 riots – but no penalties for BLM rioters who destroyed a lot more

 The Proud Boys have been fined for tearing down and burning a Black Lives Matter (BLM) sign posted outside a Washington, D.C. church back in 2020.

According to the New York Post, D.C. Superior Court Associate Judge Neal Kravitz ordered the alt-right group to pay $1.03 million to the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church (MAMEC) for its "hateful and overtly racist" conduct. Aside from this, the magistrate banned the Proud Boys from coming near the MAMEC's vicinity. Kravitz also prohibited the group from making threats or defamatory remarks against the church or its pastor for five years.

In his June 1 order, Kravitz called the Proud Boys' demonstration an "attack" on the MAMEC. He added that this attack "resulted from a highly orchestrated set of events focused on the Proud Boys' guiding principles – white supremacy and violence." The ruling was a default judgment issued after the extremist group failed to show up in court to fight the case.

Kravitz's ruling came years after the predominantly Black church sued the Proud Boys, alleging that the group violated D.C. and federal law by trespassing and destroying religious property in a bias-related conspiracy.

The Rev. William Lamar IV, MAMEC's pastor, issued a statement following the July 1 ruling. The statement, coursed through the church's legal counsel, read: "Our courage and determination to fight back in response to the 2020 attack on our church is a beacon of hope for our community and today’s ruling showed us what our collective vision and voice can achieve."

"While [MAMEC] refused to be silenced in the face of white supremacist violence, that does not mean real trauma and damage did not occur – merely that congregants and the church have and will continue to rise above it."

The MAMEC pastor has ignored the fact that the very group his church is supporting has done far more damage to communities.

Proud Boys leadership jailed following the attacks

The Proud Boys were established by writer and podcaster Gavin McInnes – famous for founding VICE back in 1994 with two others – in 2016. He stated that the men-only group consists of vocal supporters of former President Donald Trump, then a candidate for the White House.

MAMEC's lawsuit arose from a December 2020 incident where some members of the alt-right group ripped the BLM poster at the church building. They then stomped on the poster after taking it down. The incident occurred amid demonstrations in the federal capital at that time, in line with allegations of Trump's loss due to widespread voter fraud.

The commotion was captured on video, featuring dozens of Proud Boys punching and stomping on the sign right outside the MAMEC's front door. Other demonstrators also joined in the fray while chanting. After this, the group moved to Asbury United Methodist Church – another predominantly Black congregation – and took down another BLM poster.

Weeks after the fiasco, the group's leader Enrique Tarrio was arrested and convicted of destruction of property for the act. Tarrio had been named as the Proud Boys chairman by November 2018, following McInnes' departure that month upon the advice of attorneys.  

It is worth noting that Tarrio and the rest of the Proud Boys have been slapped with an exorbitant fine for the destruction of a simple sign. BLM rioters, meanwhile, often get a free pass after destroying buildings, vehicles and monuments. According to an analysis conducted by the Guardian, most charges filed against protesters who participated in the riots "were ultimately dropped, dismissed or otherwise not filed."

Axios reported back in September 2020 that insurance claims stemming from the damage caused by the BLM riots during the summer of that year amounted to between $1 billion and $2 billion. The outlet noted that the "arson, vandalism and looting" exceeded the $1.42 billion damage previously recorded during the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.

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