PHILADELPHIA, PA – The city of Philadelphia was one of many democratic led cities which faced scores of violence and unrest after the death of George Floyd while in police custody in May of this year.
During the riots and protests, at least two Philadelphia Police vehicles were set aflame, and now, federal prosecutors have announced that they have indicted four people for the crime.
Here is the press release from today’s charges. The defendants are all facing a mandatory minimum of 7 years in federal prison if convicted. https://t.co/ZtNTx4Ft9G
— US Attorney William M. McSwain (@USAttyMcSwain) October 29, 2020
On October 29th, federal prosecutors announced that they were federally charging several people in connection with riots and other crimes, specifically four people for burning down two marked Philadelphia Police vehicles in May. US Attorney William McSwain said that no one will condone the criminal and violent acts committed, regardless of reason:
“You’re not going to be able to torch police cars and do things like that with impunity.”
The people who have been federally indicted for the arson are Anthony Smith, Carlos Matchett, Khalif Miller and Ayoub Tabri. Matchett, Smith and Miller were charged for the arson of the Philadelphia Police vehicles while Tabri was charged for burning down a Pennsylvania State Police vehicle.
Recently finished up our press conference to announce charges against 4 defendants for torching police vehicles during violent civil unrest in Philadelphia. All defendants are now in federal custody. pic.twitter.com/W1oUlzYsTK
— US Attorney William M. McSwain (@USAttyMcSwain) October 29, 2020
One of those charged is a social studies teacher at Youthbuild Charter school, who is also known as an activist. Smith and his lawyer confirm that he is facing federal charges for the crime that happened near city hall on May 30th.
McSwain pointed to cameras that are throughout the area which led them to the four being charged for the crimes.
“You can’t go anywhere in Philadelphia without being on video, especially during these protests. So my message is, you’re being watched.”
The police vehicle in question was parked on the north side of City Hall which is near Broad and Market Streets. Authorities allege that the three men placed combustible materials into the car which set it aflame during the riots.
On the same day as this vehicle fire, federal authorities claim that State Troopers responded to the intersection of Vine and Broad Streets in the area of City Hall to assist with the riots. They positioned two State Police patrol vehicles at the on-ramp of I-676 to attempt to stop protesters and rioters from getting onto the roadway.
As the protesters and rioters converged on the area, they began attacking the marked police vehicles and broke the windows. Some of them were able to retrieve flares that were in the vehicles as well as stealing fire extinguishers and riot bags which contained other police issued equipment.
Federal authorities claim that Tabri lit one of the flares on fire before throwing it into the marked State Trooper vehicle, which ultimately caused it to catch on fire. He was charged by federal authorities with two counts of arson, and one count of obstructing law enforcement in the commission of their duties during a civil disorder.
U.S. Attorney announces charges stemming from May 30 protests in Philadelphia, warns of criminal prosecution for rioting. https://t.co/I4WOdHUmJk
— PhillyVoice (@thephillyvoice) November 1, 2020
McSwain, in speaking of the charges, said:
“I want to be clear that we at the US Attorney’s Office support peaceful protest – indeed, it is part of our job to protect First Amendment freedoms. We take that responsibility very seriously.
“But violence is not speech. There is no right to riot, loot, rob, destroy, or commit arson. If you engage in violent civil unrest and commit a federal crime in this district, we will come after you as hard as we can because residents deserve safe and secure neighborhoods, not mayhem.”
As far as Smith goes, he claims that the charges against him are somehow political in nature and unfounded. His attorney, Paul Hetznecker, claimed, with no evidence presented:
“To charge him federally, I think is outrageous and as I said, it’s another example of the political overreach by the federal government.”
“Mr. Smith was not in any way targeted by my office. I knew nothing about Mr. Smith or his affiliations until the investigation was nearly complete. We do not investigate people at the US Attorney’s Office. We investigate alleged criminal behavior.”
Each of the four, alleged, criminals face a minimum sentence of seven years in federal prison for their crimes if they are convicted.
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June 20, 2020
MILWAUKEE, WI – Ten people have been arrested and charged with burglary in connection with looting in Milwaukee.
The arrests were made for incidents occurring between May 27 and June 1.
Those arrested were:
-Terry Gilbert, 26, burglary-building or dwelling
-Lamont Nelson, 48, burglary-building or dwelling
-Samuel Daniels, 18, burglary-building or dwelling
-Desmond Givens, 18, burglary-building or dwelling, identity theft-obtain money or credit
-Marcus Coleman, 31, burglary-building or dwelling
-Isaiah Allen, 26, burglary-building or dwelling
-Octavian Miller, 26, burglary-building or dwelling, as party to a crime
-Jerry Burks, 25, burglary-building or dwelling
-Marissa Jones, 19, burglary-building or dwelling
-Amondre Brooks, 18, burglary-building or dwelling, as party to a crime
Sam Ramahi owns Trend Benderz, a shoe store in the city near 35th Street and Capitol Drive. He said:
“Everything here was full. Everything has been taken out. All my tables are empty.
“So far, we are estimating damage with inventory anywhere between $600,000 to $700,000.”
Keep in mind this estimate is just for one store.
Ramahi said it took only 15 minutes for looters to clear his store.
The first two listed above, Gilbert and Nelson, were said to have gone in to Trend Benderz first.
Gilbert reportedly told police that he was “going to take something from the store,” but it had already been broken into. He also said he was “stopped by the police outside” before he took anything.
Nelson said he had recently gotten out of prison and saw people leaving the store carrying shoes. He said he went inside with the intent to take some but they were all gone before he could.
Jones and Miller listed above were involved in looting from Value Beauty near Teutonia Avenue and Florist Street. The two were seen leaving with “arms full of merchandise.”
Additionally, court documents said that Miller’s vehicle contained an “aluminum baseball bat, hammer and two unopened cellphone boxes” when he was found.
Both businesses are still boarded up, according to local Fox affiliate, News6.
Isaiah Allen was located inside the Kids Foot Locker in the 4100 block of N. 56th St. When he was caught, he was holding several boxes of shoes. He also had a handgun in his waistband.
According to police, he knew breaking into the store was wrong but he wanted shoes for his kids.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:
“Video from [Trend Benderz] showed Raymell Moore, 20, loading several boxes of shoes into a car outside before he was also caught inside by police. He told an officer he had decided to “just go with the flow” and steal some shoes. Now he faces a burglary charge.
“Booker Williams, 18, is charged with second-degree reckless endangerment. Police say he sped and wove through a crowded intersection of North 35th Street and West Fond du Lac Avenue about 2 a.m. Monday, with passengers hanging out windows. The car continued even after it hit spike strips police had laid out, before it was abandoned about a half-mile away.
“Police found Williams’ ID in the car and he later walked up to them and admitted he’d been driving. He’s being held in the jail on $300 bail.”
Dozens of others were arrested for non felonies, including violence, vandalism and curfew violations.
Feds in Philadelphia have also had success locating vandals. Law Enforcement Today told you about an incredible show of police work recently. Here it is again in case you missed it.
A woman whom authorities say is responsible for torching two police cruisers during riots that transpired in Philadelphia is now facing federal charges, according to reports.
Proving once again that while certain cities may have proverbially calmed down, investigators aren’t turning a blind eye to felonies committed back in May.
Officials say that Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal was among those engaged in riotous acts on May 30th in Philadelphia, alleging that she set two police vehicles ablaze during the chaos that ensued within the city.
Investigators pointed to the existence of photographic and video evidence of Blumenthal retrieving a piece of wood covered in flames from one police cruiser, and then placing that burning wood into a police SUV which cause the vehicle to catch fire.
Reportedly both the initial cruiser and the SUV were subsequently destroyed from the flames as a result.
U.S. Attorney William McSwain commented on the alleged acts carried out by Blumenthal:
“We at the U.S. Attorney’s Office fully support the First Amendment right of the people to assemble peaceably and to petition their government. But torching a police car has nothing to do with peaceful protest or any legitimate message.”
The 33-year-old suspect in federal custody is facing a possible sentence of 80 years in prison, accompanied by up to three years of supervision and a fine of up to half a million dollars.
McSwain issued a stern warning to those who thought they may have gotten away with criminal acts during the riots within the past four weeks:
“Anybody who engaged in such acts can stand by to put your hands behind your back and head to federal prison. We are coming for you.”
ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge John Schmidt stated that the agency will continue to work in finding individuals responsible for acts of arson, likening such displays as ones that “terrorize” communities:
“Everybody deserves to be safe from violent criminals utilizing dangerous methods to destroy our neighborhoods and property. ATF will always work with our local, state and federal partners to investigate and arrest the criminals who choose to use arson to commit their crimes and terrorize the public.”
This particular investigation was a collaborative effort between the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, ATF, the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Fire Marshal’s Office.
Meaning that with all the aforementioned agencies and their resources, identifying more criminal acts that transpired during the riots is inevitable.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw relayed such a sentiment during the announcement of the charges against Blumenthal:
“We are privileged to have worked, and will continue to work, with our partners in law enforcement to investigate, identify and hold accountable the persons who committed these unlawful acts.”
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