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A South Carolina man was sentenced to 18 months federal prison after pleading guilty to participating in a riot in which he attacked police officers following the death of George Floyd.
Prosecutors said Abraham Jenkins, 26, sprayed a fire extinguisher on police officers during the riot, threw a water bottle at an officer and threw a burning T-shirt through a broken window of a Charleston police cruiser. Prosecutors also said he damaged a Mount Pleasant city police vehicle by standing on it during the riot.
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“The United States Prosecutor’s Office will always protect the rights of the South Carolinians’ first amendment,” Acting US Attorney M. Rhett DeHart said in a Justice Department press release on Thursday. “However, when peaceful protests turn into violence and destruction, the violent agitators who commit crimes are brought to justice.”
Jenkins was sentenced to one and a half years federal prison and three years supervised release for his role in a riot in downtown Charleston last May.
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“While the Charleston Police Department always supports our citizens’ right to peaceful protest, we will never tolerate violent or destructive acts that endanger our citizens or damage property,” said Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds of the conviction. “More work needs to be done as we continue to investigate and prosecute the violent perpetrators responsible for the significant destruction of property, attacks on our citizens and attacks on our officials. We will not rest until justice is done for all affected by these crimes. “
Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Memorial Day last year sparked riot and protests across the country calling for justice in the cases of black Americans who died in interactions with police, with many attendees calling for police disengagement.
The widespread violence of the riot has left millions of dollars in damage to businesses and government buildings in cities like Portland, Seattle and Minneapolis. All in all, the unrest after Floyd’s death could cost insurance companies up to $ 2 billion.
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Jenkins is the second of six defendants convicted of involvement in rioting in Charleston and Columbia.