Justice is finally catching up to some of those responsible for widespread destruction in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year, as evidenced by the sentencing Wednesday of a Minnesota man who played a role in setting fire to the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct, the Daily Caller reports.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, 23-year-old Dylan Shakespeare Robinson received 48 months in prison after pleading guilty back in December to a single count of conspiracy to commit arson for taking part in breaching a fence surrounding the police precinct, entering the premises, and setting it alight with the aid of co-conspirators.
Acting U.S. Attorney Anders Folk explained that “on the night of May 28, 2020, Mr. Robinson chose to depart from lawful protest and instead engaged in violence and destruction. The arson at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct put lives at risk and contributed to widespread lawlessness in Minneapolis. With today’s sentence, Mr. Robinson is held accountable for his actions.”
FBI special agent Michael Paul of the Minneapolis Field Office emphasized the importance of Robinson’s sentencing, saying, “The danger posed by the defendant in this case was very real. Today’s sentencing sends a clear message – regardless of motivation, when someone is intent on conducting a violent at that breaks federal law, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will move assertively to hold them accountable.”
In addition to the four-year prison term, Robinson will also serve two years under supervised released and is obligated to pay $12 million in restitution for the physical damage caused to the building. Robinson’s was not the only compromise agreement reached in the police precinct fire, as three other defendants pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit arson.
That Robinson and his Minneapolis co-conspirators are facing very real consequences for their participation in last year’s unrest, the same cannot be said for an unacceptably large number of sometimes-violent demonstrators in other parts of the country. As Portland NBC affiliate KGW noted last month, federal prosecutors there have quietly dismissed over a third of the cases resulting from protests in the city’s downtown, including those of several individuals charged with the felony offense of assaulting a federal officer.
Those dismissals seem to fly in the face of assurances made last summer by then-U.S. Attorney for Oregon, Billy Williams, who pledged to bring accountability to those involved, saying at the time, “Make no mistake: those who commit violence in the name of protest, will be investigated, arrested, prosecuted, and face prison time.”
The need to bring violent rioters and looters to justice and send a strong signal of deterrence to those disposed to committing similar acts in the future was brought into stark relief by data from the Insurance Information Institute indicating that the total price tag for the devastation was on track to exceed $2 billion.
Despite the willingness of many on the left to turn a blind eye to lawlessness and looting supposedly done in the name of social justice, the fate that has befallen Robinson and his collaborators is a small, yet encouraging sign that naked acts of destruction – particularly those targeting law enforcement – cannot and will not be tolerated.