Brainerd, Staples men indicted for Minneapolis police precinct fire
A man from Brainerd and a man from Staples are among the four defendants.
Men from Brainerd and Staples are among four defendants federally indicted with conspiracy to commit arson for their alleged roles in burning the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building during the May 28 riots following the murder of George Floyd.
U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald announced the federal indictment in a news release Tuesday, Aug. 25, charging Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, 22, Brainerd; David De-Andre Turner, 24, St. Paul; Byrce Michael Williams, 26, Staples; and Branden Michael Wolfe, 23, St. Paul, with one count each of conspiracy to commit arson at the Minneapolis police building.
Robinson and Wolfe were previously charged via federal criminal complaint with aiding and abetting arson. Williams was previously charged via criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit arson. Formal detention and arraignment hearings will be scheduled at a later date, the news release stated.
US Attorney’s Office charges Brainerd man with Minneapolis police station fire
According to the allegations in the indictment, on May 28, Robinson, Turner, Williams and Wolfe each went to the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct where a crowd of hundreds had gathered. At one point, the crowd began shouting, “Burn it down, burn it down.” Soon after, a fence designed to keep trespassers out of the Third Precinct building was torn down. The four men, along with other unidentified co-conspirators, breached the fence and entered the police building.
Staples man faces charges for Minneapolis police precinct arson
Robinson, assisted by an unidentified co-conspirator, lit an incendiary device held by the unidentified co-conspirator who threw it toward the Third Precinct building with the intent to start a fire or fuel an existing fire, according to the indictment. Williams and Turner, assisted by an unidentified co-conspirator, lit a Molotov cocktail, which was taken into the Third Precinct building by Turner and used to start a fire. Wolfe pushed a barrel into a fire at the entrance of the building to accelerate an existing fire, the indictment stated.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, the news release stated.
Robinson was arrested June 14 in Breckenridge, Colorado.
According to court records filed during the time of his arrest, Robinson was on probation in Crow Wing County for a fourth-degree possession of a phencyclidine/hallucinogen conviction. Robinson also has been convicted of petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor traffic and parking violations in Crow Wing, Ramsey and Hennepin counties.
In reference to Robinson’s current probation, his probation agent told investigators he is supposed to text her every Wednesday to confirm his location and that he is attending drug treatment. The last time the agent spoke with Robinson was May 20. During the conversion, Robinson asked the agent about the potential consequences if he stopped attending drug treatment and he wanted to move to Denver, the criminal complaint stated.
Williams was booked in the Hennepin County Jail in January 2015 and his booking photo matched the face of the unmasked individual depicted in the videos posted on social media. In the initial complaint filed against Williams he was asked if he would consider burning down the building part of the rioting?
“Yeah, definitely that’s part of rioting, its mass destruction -- that’s what a riot is, its mass destruction,” he said as quoted in the complaint.
Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to urge the public to report suspected arson, use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest, a news release stated. Anyone with information specifically related to the Third Precinct fire or other business fires in the Twin Cities may call 1-888-283-8477, email ATFTips@atf.gov or submit information anonymously via ReportIt.com .
In addition to fires, the FBI is looking for people who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips may call 1-800-225-5324 or submit images or videos at FBI.gov/violence .
This case is the result of an investigation conducted jointly by the ATF, the FBI, the Minneapolis Police Department and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harry M. Jacobs and David P. Steinkamp.