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Rioter who helped set fire to MN police station fined $12 million, gets prison time

The Minneapolis Third Police Precinct is set on fire. (Carlos Gonzalez/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
April 30, 2021

The 23-year-old rioter who helped set fire to a Minneapolis police station during the George Floyd riots last May has been ordered to pay $12 million and was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

According to the Department of Justice, Dylan Shakespeare Robinson pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiracy to commit arson, resulting in the hefty $12 million fine that will pay for damages caused by the fire.

The fine will be required to be paid after Robinson serves his prison sentence, but his attorney has said “there is no realistic chance” his client will be able to pay the fine.

“The danger posed by the defendant, in this case, was very real,” said Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, in a statement released by the Department of Justice. “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message — regardless of motivation, when someone is intent on conducting a violent act that breaks federal law, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will move assertively to hold them accountable. This type of behavior puts public servants and our entire community in danger, and we simply will not let it go unaddressed.”

The Associated Press reported that Robinson was accused of lighting a Molotov cocktail and handing it to another person who threw the incendiary device at the 3rd Precinct headquarters on East Lake Street. The young rioter also allegedly tore down fencing that surrounded the building.

“On the night of May 28, 2020, Mr. Robinson chose to depart from lawful protest and instead engaged in violence and destruction. The arson at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct put lives at risk and contributed to widespread lawlessness in Minneapolis,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Anders Folk. “With today’s sentence, Mr. Robinson is held accountable for his actions.”

Co-conspirators Bryce Michael Williams, 27, Davon De-Andre Turner, 25, and Branden Michael Wolfe, 23, have all pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit arson for their roles in the precinct fire, the DOJ statement read.

“[The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] is committed to investigating the civil unrest arsons of 2020 that occurred throughout the Twin Cities,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeff Reed, of the ATF St. Paul Field Division. “Arson, being inherently violent, is a serious crime that put many of our community members at risk, and it cannot be tolerated.”

Fox Business reported that the riots which raged across the United States in 2020 caused nearly $2 billion in damage.