Minnesota man pleads guilty for helping set fire to police precinct during George Floyd riots

A Minnesota man has pleaded guilty for his role in torching a Minneapolis police precinct during riots following the death of George Floyd in May.

During a virtual hearing on Friday, Davon De-Andre Turner, 25, of St. Paul, admitted that he and other rioters set the precinct building aflame by illegally entering the building and throwing a Molotov cocktail on the floor.

According to sentencing guidelines in the federal arson case, Turner faces between 41 and 51 months in prison, or roughly four years, though the judge in the case has discretion, local affiliate Fox 9 reported.

Turner is not currently behind bars, the outlet noted, adding that his sentencing is scheduled for May.

During arguments, prosecutors said that damage to the precinct building totaled around $12 million.

Erica MacDonald, a U.S. attorney involved in the case, said that her office will continue to pursue charges related to fires that destroyed the department’s Third Precinct.

“The message needs to be clear, you may not engage in violent and destructive behavior in our city,” she said. “We will not tolerate it. We will make sure our citizens are protected at all costs.”

She added that investigators are continuing to follow leads and pursue additional suspects.

“As you know, hundreds of people were involved,” MacDonald said, according to Fox 9. “Not just four people responsible for the destruction. We continue to press forward and welcome the public in any information they may have.”

Riots broke out in late May 2020 after Floyd, 46, died while being detained by Minneapolis police. Four officers involved in the incident were immediately fired. All have been charged in connection with Floyd’s death, including second-degree murder.

Video of former officer Derek Chauvin pinning Floyd by the neck to the pavement with his knee went viral, which inflamed the city and sparked similar violence around the country for months.

Turner was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit arson. During his hearing before U.S. District Patrick J. Schlitz, he said he and another rioter lit the Molotov cocktail that he brought into the precinct building and shattered it on the floor.

Meanwhile, outside a crowd chanted, “Burn it down! Burn it down!”

Turner is one of four defendants who pleaded guilty to playing some role in the fire.

Fox 9 reported that, at present, the Third Precinct building remains closed, fenced off, and boarded up. The precinct’s officers are currently working at a temporary location, though “they recently moved out of the Minneapolis Convention Center into a new building downtown,” the outlet noted.

Minneapolis Police Department officials and the city are still looking for a new permanent location for the precinct. A spokesperson for the department told Fox 9 that police officials believe it will be best to locate the new building in the community officers are there to protect, but prior efforts to find a new home have been met with stiff opposition, Fox 9 reported.

Since the Floyd incident, liberals in the Democrat-run city have called to defund the entire police department, though city officials have so far only cut the department’s budget by about $8 million.

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Jon Dougherty

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