Minneapolis Man sentenced to federal prison and ordered to pay $12M restitution in last year’s George Floyd riots

The fourth and final man charged with burning a Minneapolis police precinct to the ground during riots last summer in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd has been sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $12 million in restitution.

“On the night of May 28, 2020, Bryce Michael Williams, 27, went to the Third Precinct where a crowd of hundreds had gathered. At one point, the crowd began shouting, “Burn it down, burn it down,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota

“Williams, along with other co-conspirators, breached the fence and entered the Third Precinct building. Surveillance video footage from the Third Precinct showed Williams standing near the entrance of the Third Precinct holding a Molotov cocktail while a co-conspirator…lit the wick,” the statement added.

Williams pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit arson in November. The sentencing will include two years and three months behind bars and another two years of supervised release.

The man who lit the wick, identified as 25-year-old Davon De-Andre Turner, took the Molotov cocktail into the building where it was used to start a fire, prosecutors said. Williams later threw a box on an existing fire located just outside the Third Precinct entrance, according to prosecutors.

“All four defendants charged in federal court have now been sentenced for their individual roles in the burning and near total destruction of the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building,” Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk said. “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.”

Judge Patrick Shiltz, who presided over the case, described Williams as a “good person who made a terrible mistake.” Schiltz defended his decision to order a shorter prison sentence than recommended by federal guidelines. But the judge also noted that Williams was a “leader,” not a “follower” when the violent mob stormed the precinct building and therefore denied his probation request. 

Williams also published videos of himself and fellow rioters to his TikTok account, which gained more than 150,000 followers. A federal grand jury indicted Williams, Turner, Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, and Branden Michael Wolfe together on one count each of conspiracy to commit arson. All four men have since pleaded guilty.