By Maya Boddie / AlterNet
A DC judge has ordered a group of Proud Boys members to pay over $1 million for their role in destroying property belonging to a well-known, majority-Black, Washington, D.C., church in 2020, CNN reports.
This comes after, in May, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Lt. Shane Lamond was indicted on four federal criminal charges, after DOJ prosecutors alleged “that Lamond shared police information with” Proud Boys member Enrique Tarrio “and tipped him off about the case against him: the one in which he was arrested for his part in burning a Black Lives Matter sign that had been stolen from” the DC-based Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Judge Neal E. Kravitz’s decision also comes nearly two months after Tarrio and fellow member, Joseph R. Biggs, were included in the group of five men found guilty of seditious conspiracy by a DC jury for their participation in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.
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Per CNN, according to the order, “The church sought compensatory damages as part of the civil suit, in part to repair the sign and increase security in the wake of the attack and due to ‘ongoing threats.'”
After the decision, Arthur Ago, the attorney representing the church, said, “The ultimate goal of this lawsuit was not monetary windfall, but to stop the Proud Boys from being able to act with impunity, without fear of consequences for their actions. And that’s exactly what we accomplished.”
Kravitz noted in his order, according to the report, “on December 12, 2020, several people in Proud Boys regalia ‘leaped over Metropolitan AME’s fence, entered the church’s property, and went directly to the Black Lives Matter sign,” adding, “They then broke the zip ties that held the sign in place, tore down the sign, threw it to the ground, and stomped on it while loudly celebrating. Many others then jumped over the fence onto the church’s property and joined in the celebration of the sign’s destruction.”
Noting this is not the first act of terror the Proud Boys committed, the judge added that they have “incited and committed acts of violence against members of Black and African American communities across the country,” emphasizing, “They also have victimized women, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, and other historically marginalized people.”
Describing the attack as “highly orchestrated” and “hateful and overtly racist conduct,” the Kravitz emphasized, “For generations, the leaders of Metropolitan AME and the members of its congregation have vocally and publicly supported movements for civil rights and racial justice,” noting, “Church leaders and congregants view supporting the Black Lives Matter movement as a continuation of the church’s mission of advocacy for civil rights and racial justice.”
CNN’s full report is available at this link.
Maya Boddie is a political reporter, an advocate for justice and the evening and weekend editor for AlterNet. Read more from her at the link below.