Fourth person to set fire to Minneapolis police building after George Floyd murder sentenced to jail
Bryce Michael Williams, 27, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for burning a Minneapolisa police building
The latest of four men who admitted to setting fire to the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building during a riot following the murder of George Floyd has been sentenced to four years in prison and a $12 million fine.
Bryce Michael Williams, 27, received the verdict Monday from Judge Patrick Schlitz, who described the defendant as a “good person who made a terrible mistake.”
While the judge ordered a lighter sentence than prosecutors had requested under state guidelines, he denied Williams’ request for probation because he said the defendant was a leader, “not a follower,” in the attack.
Williams, from Staples, was one of thousands of protesters who surrounded the police station on May 28, 2020 – three days after Floyd’s death.
At one point, the crowd was heard chanting, ‘burn it down, burn it down’, referring to the police building and became unmanageable.
They tore down a fence intended to keep intruders out of the Third District, prosecutors said.
Then Williams and three other men — Davon De-Andre Turner, 25, Branden Michael Wolfe, 23, and Dylan Shakespeare Robinson — lit and threw Molotov cocktails at the building, causing the building’s “near total destruction,” acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folks said in a statement.
Williams was depicted on surveillance footage holding a Molotov cocktail while others lit the fuse. Another man carried the device inside and used it to start the fire (pictured)
Minneapolis’s third police station has been set on fire during a third night of protests following the death of George Floyd while he was in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department on Thursday, May 28.
All four men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson, and Williams was the last to be convicted.
‘Mr. Williams and his co-defendants have been held responsible for their dangerous and destructive actions. I thank our federal, state and local partners who have pursued justice in these cases,” Folks said.
In addition to jail time, Williams must pay $12 million in restitution and is subject to two years’ release after surveillance.
During last year’s protests, several businesses were looted and burned and a suspected looter was shot dead.
The city looked like a war zone after former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck. The National Guard was deployed to rule the violence
Chauvin was eventually convicted of first degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Nearly a year later, the city of Minneapolis fell into chaos again.
Protests and violence have gripped the city since Thursday, when US Marshals shot a black man – 32-year-old Winston Boogie Smith Jr. — while trying to arrest him on a warrant for a firearms offense.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the shooting, said evidence at the scene indicates Smith fired his weapon from inside the vehicle.
Smith’s family has called for the release of all videos of Thursday’s deadly encounter, including from security cameras, CNN reported.
The U.S. Marshal Service does not allow the use of body cameras for officers serving with the North Star Fugitive Task Force, the Minnesota Department of Safety said in a statement.
There are also no CCTV footage from the team of the incident.
Protesters continued to protest the death of 32-year-old Winston Boogie Smith Jr. on Saturday night.