Judge calls man, 27, who helped burn down Minneapolis police station in George Floyd riots a ‘good person who made a terrible mistake’ as he hands down four-year prison sentence and $12M fine
- Bryce Michael Williams, 27, was sentenced to federal prison and ordered to pay $12million in restitution for burning a Minneapolis police building last May
- Williams and three other men were protesting George Floyd’s murder when they lit and threw Molotov cocktails at a he police building
- All four men were sentenced to federal prison
- Judge Patrick Schlitz handed down Williams’ sentence and called him a ‘good person who made a terrible mistake’
Bryce Michael Williams, 27,was sentenced to 27 months in prison for burning a Minneapolis police building
The last of four men who admitted to burning Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building during a riot after George Floyd‘s murder has been slapped with a four-year prison sentence and $12million fine.
Bryce Michael Williams, 27, received the sentence on Monday from Judge Patrick Schlitz, who described the defendant as a ‘good person who made a terrible mistake’.
While the judge handed down 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, of Staples, was among the thousands of protestors 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 unruly.
They tore down a fence intended to keep trespassers out of the Third Precinct, according to prosecutors.
That’s when 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 and caused the ‘near total destruction’ of the building, Acting US Attorney W. Anders Folks said in a statement.
Williams was pictured on surveillance footage holding a Molotov cocktail while others lit the wick. Another man carried the device inside and used it to light the fire (pictured)
The Minneapolis Third Police Precinct is set on fire during a third night of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody, on Thursday, May 28
All four men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson, and Williams was the last to be sentenced.
‘Mr. Williams and his co-defendants have been held accountable for their dangerous and destructive actions. I thank our federal, state, and local partners who pursued justice in these cases,’ Folks said.
In addition to prison time, Williams will have to pay $12 million in restitution and will be subject to two years of post supervision release.
During last year’s protests, several businesses were looted and torched, and a suspected looter was shot dead.
The city looked like warzone after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck. The National Guard was deployed to reign in the violence
Chauvin was ultimately convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Nearly a year later, the city of Minneapolis descended 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 attempting to arrest him on a warrant for a felony firearms violation.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the shooting, said evidence at the scene indicates that Smith fired his weapon from inside the vehicle.
Smith’s family have called for the release any video 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 on its North Star Fugitive Task Force, the Minnesota Department of Safety said in a statement.
There is also no squad camera footage of the incident.
Demonstrators continued protesting the shooting death of 32-year-old Winston Boogie Smith Jr. into Saturday night, blocking intersections as fires of debris burned nearby