Adrian Wood, 21, faces up to five years in prison, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware said.
Protesters gathered in downtown Wilmington during the afternoon of May 30 to protest the death a week prior of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Protesters marched around and blocked traffic on I-95.
Later in the day, a number of people damaged and looted businesses on Market Street, including restaurants, bars, and retailers.
Wood was observed throwing a brick through the back window of a Wilmington Police Department (WPD) police car that was being operated by a police officer at the time. The projectile, launched around 7:10 p.m., shattered the back window, according to a criminal complaint (pdf).
Wood was observed using his cell phone later that night, appearing to record photographs and videos and send or receive messages.
The protest “grew increasingly violent,” the complaint stated.
Around 11 p.m., Wood was spotted walking along King Street. An officer stopped him and asked him to identify himself. Wood initially provided a false name and date of birth but eventually confirmed his true identity. The officer who saw Wood launch the brick arrived at the scene and positively identified Wood as a culprit.
Wood was arrested.
Officers found a 6-inch fixed blade knife, a lock picking kit, and a backpack full of fireworks. Wood later told officers he meant to sell the fireworks to other people at the protest and denied picking any locks. Wood’s mother told police she was at the protest for a period of time with her other son before they left. Wood’s mother said he had, at one point, fireworks, Roman Candles, Ground fireworks, and possibly leftover mortars.
Wood is one of dozens of people nationwide charged with actions allegedly taken during the riots that took place late last month and early this month.
“In recent days, protestors throughout Delaware have lawfully exercised their First Amendment rights in sympathy with those seeking criminal justice reform. But peaceful protest does not extend to the lawless destruction of private or public property,” David Weiss, U.S. attorney for the district, said in a statement.
“Thankfully, the defendant’s violent actions did not result in physical harm to the WPD officer driving the police car attacked by the defendant.”
Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy added, “I am glad that none of our officers were injured, and that our collaborative, investigative efforts have been successful in holding this individual responsible for his actions.”
And Jennifer Boone, FBI special agent in charge, said that people have the right to peacefully assembly but that authorities “cannot allow violence committed by those who try to take advantage of peaceful demonstrations to pursue their own agendas to stand.”