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Proud Boys Leader Released From Police Custody And Ordered To Leave D.C.

The leader of the right-wing group Proud Boys was released from police custody on Tuesday and ordered by a judge to leave Washington, D.C. — and stay away.

Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, 36, was arrested Monday shortly after his arrival in the District, where Trump supporters are gathering to rally during Congress' official certification of the Electoral College ballots on Wednesday.

Tarrio was charged with destruction of property and possession of high-capacity firearm magazines.

In media interviews, Tarrio has claimed responsibility for tearing down and burning a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church last month.

Tarrio appeared in court on Tuesday. A judge ordered him to leave the District and banned him from returning except for very limited conditions, including meeting with his attorney or attending a court date, The Associated Press reports. His next hearing is scheduled for June, accordingto WAMU.

In an affidavit, police say the two magazines that Tarrio carried were not loaded and were emblazoned with Proud Boys insignia. Tarrio told police he was carrying the magazines to deliver them to a customer who had purchased them from his online store. He also said he did not want to talk about the December incidents without a lawyer present.

The Proud Boys have been labeled as an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Washington, D.C., police have said it will be up to the U.S. attorney's office to decide whether to prosecute the banner burning as a hate crime, The Washington Post reports. Tarrio told the Post last month that he would plead guilty to destruction of property but not to a hate crime.

One of the Black churches that was targeted last month, Metropolitan AME Church, filed a lawsuit on Monday in D.C. Superior Court against the Proud Boys and Tarrio.

President Trump is expected to address the rally on Wednesday.

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Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.