A Minneapolis man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for his role in the arson of the Target corporate headquarters in downtown Minneapolis during one of the 2020 riots, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger last week.
The riot that began in the late afternoon hours of Aug. 26, 2020, was spawned from false information spread in part by live streamers claiming that Minneapolis police had shot and killed a man in downtown Minneapolis.
People are INCORRECTLY live streaming saying this was OIS. There is also a protest that was already forming #MplsDowntown. Police sound VERY concerned about this false information being live streamed.
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) August 26, 2020
Video released within an hour of the incident by the Minneapolis Police Department in an attempt to quell the rumors showed that the subject of the shooting, who was a homicide suspect being tracked by police, actually shot himself [graphic video] in a suicide death on the 800 block of Nicollet Mall.
Leroy Lemonte Perry Williams, now 37, was one of several people who subsequently engaged in activity that included arson, looting, burglaries, assaults on police, and property damage that continued through that evening in downtown and other areas of Minneapolis.
Williams and two others were eventually charged in federal court with conspiracy to commit arson for the fire that damaged Target Corporation’s corporate headquarters building located at 1000 Nicollet Mall.
Surveillance images showed Williams joining the crowds rioting in downtown Minneapolis that night, first outside the Target store on Nicollet Mall, then looting a Speedway gas station a few blocks away and finally at the Target Corporation headquarters building in downtown Minneapolis.
Court documents say that Williams repeatedly attempted to light cardboard on fire using a lighter inside the building. Williams was interrupted in his attempts by an unidentified male who confronted Williams. Williams responded aggressively by shoving him, before ultimately leaving the Target headquarters.
Court records show that Williams was previously offered a plea deal on the arson charge in January 2021, but later withdrew his plea, which led to a jury trial in October last year when he was found guilty.
Williams’ sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release.
Williams’ co-defendants Victor Devon Edwards and Shador Tommie Cortez Jackson were previously sentenced to 100 months and 33 months, respectively, in federal prison for their roles in the Target arson.
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