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Five men have been sentenced to more than a year in federal prison for burning a police car in Georgia during a protest against the killing of George Floyd.

Bruce Anthony Thompson, 23, Jesse James Smallwood, 22, Delveccho Waller, Jr., 23, Dashun Martin, 24, and Judah Coleman Bailey, 21, all of Hall County, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson. 

Five men sentenced after using peaceful protest to set fire to police car in Gainesville, Georgia.

The marked patrol vehicle was parked outside the officer’s apartment complex in Gainesville when the men set fire to it around 1 a.m. on June 1, 2020.

The defendants met in downtown Gainesville before spotting the SUV. They covered their faces with masks and bandanas, then shot a flare through the rear windshield, causing the fire, authorities said.

Gainesville, Georgia police car
(Office of Insurance and Safety fire commissioner)

The men were arrested less than two weeks after the incident. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, authorities spotted Smallwood’s car after it matched a description. Inside, officers discovered three explosives and a flare gun. 

In addition to prison time, the defendants were sentenced to three years’ supervised release. They also have to pay the Gainesville Police Department more than $3,600 in restitution.

Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis sparked international outcry. Officer Derek Chauvin planted his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as Floyd repeated, “I can’t breathe.” 

In April, Chauvin was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison after being convicted of murder.

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