SEATTLE —Desmond David-Pitts, a 19-year-old Alaska man, was charged with arson for setting fire to the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct on Monday, Aug.24.
According to the criminal complaint filed with the U.S. Attorney’s Western District Office, David-Pitts arrived in Seattle from Alaska just three days before Monday’s protest. After marching with the group in downtown Seattle, he was seen on surveillance video piling up trash against the sally-port door at the Seattle Police East Precinct and repeatedly lighting it on fire and feeding the flames with more trash.
While he was lighting the fire, other people who appeared on the surveillance video were attempting to use crowbars and cement-like materials to try to disable the door next to the sally-port to prevent officers from exiting the building.
“This is the fourth defendant to appear in federal court after being charged with criminal conduct that went far beyond any peaceful protest,” U.S. Attorney Brian Moran said in an Aug. 27 press release. “Those who go to protest but choose violence and criminal acts over protected speech will face the full weight of federal criminal sanctions. This illegal conduct must end.”
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said the intentional fire set was an organized, pre-planned attack that endangered the lives of officers and the entire community.
“This was not a peaceful protest or demonstration for equity, but an act of lawlessness,” Best said. “We are grateful our federal partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office recognize the criminal nature of these acts and are holding those responsible accountable.”
On June 10, Devinare Antwan Parker, a former North Carolina man who struck a Seattle Police Officer with a large can and threatened to kill all police was charged with possessing a destructive device for bringing an improvised firearm to a protest.
On June 11, 25-year-old Margaret Aislinn Channon from Tacoma was charged with arson for setting five Seattle Police vehicles on fire.
On July 15, Isiah Thomas Willoughby, a former Seattle resident, was charged with arson in connection with a fire set at the East Precinct.
Arson is punishable by a mandatory minimum of five years in prison. The maximum sentence is 20 years in the penitentiary.