Last of 4 Men Sentenced for Helping Set Minneapolis Police Station on Fire

June 9, 2021 Updated: June 9, 2021

A U.S. District Judge on Monday sentenced the last of four men who pleaded guilty to setting fire to the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building last May in the midst of protests and riots that followed the death of George Floyd.

Bryce Michael Williams, 27, was fined $12 million in restitution for the damage and will serve two years and three months in prison U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz ruled.

Williams was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release, according to the United States Attorney’s Office District of Minnesota.

Schiltz on Monday called Williams, a father and former college basketball player, a “good person who made a terrible mistake.” He said for that reason, the 27-year-old was handed a prison term lower than prescribed by federal sentencing guidelines.

The judge, however, rejected Williams’ request for probation, saying that he was a leader, “not a follower” in the events that unfolded on May 28, 2020.

According to court documents, Williams joined a crowd of hundreds at the Third Precinct building. He and others breached a fence that had been erected to keep trespassers out, and entered the building.

burned police building
Protesters gather around after setting fire to the entrance of a police station in Minneapolis, Minn. on May 29, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Surveillance video footage from the Third Precinct showed Williams standing near the entrance of the building holding a Molotov cocktail, while a co-conspirator, Davon De-Andre Turner, lit the wick. The Molotov cocktail was taken into the Third Precinct by Turner, and was used to start a fire. Williams later threw a box on an existing fire located just outside the Third Precinct entrance.

Williams told the judge that he was ashamed of his actions and he’ll never forget the pain he’s caused, the Star Tribune reported.

“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,” said Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk in a statement.

“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.”

A federal grand jury indicted Williams, Turner, and the other two co-conspirators—Branden Michael Wolfe and Dylan Shakespeare Robinson—together on one count each of conspiracy to commit arson.

Turner was sentenced to three years, Wolfe to three years and five months, and Robinson to four years. All four pleaded guilty in federal court for their roles in the arson incident.