Metropolitan AME Church in Washington D.C. filed a lawsuit against the Proud Boys after the group burned and destroyed Black Lives Matter signs in December. The group has not responded to the lawsuit and experts say their lack of response may lead to a default victory for the historical church.
“The Proud Boys is not a legal entity, so I don’t know what money they’d go after,” Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio said to Vice News. “If they try to go after mine, I’d be happy to drag my balls across their face in court.”
The church could attack the group members’ personal assets.
“Once they get a judgment, they can enforce it with subpoenas and court-ordered depositions,” Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Virginia, said. “If that happens, the leader of the Proud Boys could run, but he can’t hide.”
Tarrio was arrested in December for one misdemeanor count of destruction of property and two felony counts for possessing large-capacity gun magazines.
“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 church’s lawsuit says.
Tarrio said the church’s lawsuit is “frivolous and ridiculous.”
“To be honest with you, I don’t care,” Tarrio told The Washington Times in February. “They’re not going to get anything out of me. If they want to parade this win, that’s fine.”
The lawsuit also lists eight unidentified individuals. If the Church wants to be compensated, the identities of these individuals would need to be revealed.
Jason Lee Van Dyke, the lawyer who helped to establish the Proud Boys, says that he hasn’t worked with the group for more than two years and that the Proud Boys International LLC is defunct and without assets.
“You could potentially take their houses, and run them into the ground,” Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor said. “They might have thought they were just having some fun with little sign-burning, only to have their financial future placed under a permanent cloud.”
Legal experts say that the group’s involvement with the deadly Capitol riot could have a significant impact on the case.
“I think the environment for anyone affiliated with the Proud Boys in a Washington, D.C., courtroom would be very hard right now,” Rossi said.