A 22-year-old Brainerd man faces federal criminal charges of aiding and abetting an arson for his alleged role 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 Tuesday, June 16, announced in a news release the charges filed against Dylan Shakespeare Robinson. Robinson was arrested Sunday in Breckenridge, Colorado, and made his initial appearance Tuesday afternoon before Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter in U.S. District Court in Denver.
According to the allegations in the complaint, on the night of May 28, the Minneapolis Police Department’s third precinct was overrun and heavily damaged due to vandalism and arson. Investigators identified multiple separate fires started in the building. Surveillance video footage from the third precinct shows two individuals lighting a Molotov cocktail and throwing it at the building. One of the individuals can be seen throwing a second Molotov cocktail at the building. Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives identified Robinson in the surveillance video.
According to the complaint, ATF investigators reviewed a video posted on Robinson’s Snapchat account that shows at least one individual appearing to make a Molotov cocktail while multiple unidentified voices provide directions on how to make the device. During the video, Robinson typed several comments, including “These guys have never made a Molotov… Rookies,” and “We need gasoline.” Investigators reviewed another Snapchat video in which Robinson can be seen setting a fire in a stairwell inside the third precinct.
On June 10, a woman emailed the ATF and said the person in the photographs that authorities had sent out on the arson was Robinson. She explained Robinson was from the Brainerd area and she was familiar with him, the complaint stated. She requested anonymity and said Robinson removed pictures from his Facebook account. She said Robinson also posted he “also did AutoZone” and had posted videos on Snapchat. During the rioting on May 27, the AutoZone building across from the Minneapolis precinct was burned to the ground.
According to the complaint, Robinson attended Pillager Area Charter School in Pillager for a brief time.
On the night of June 12, investigators located Robinson in the Denver area and arrested him Sunday in Breckenridge, Colorado.
According to court records, Robinson is currently 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.
The ATF and FBI urge the public to report suspected arson, use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information specifically related to the third precinct fire or other business fires in the Twin Cities can call 888-ATF-TIPS or 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 can call 800-CALLFBI or 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, St. Paul and Denver Field Divisions, the FBI Minneapolis and Denver Field Offices, the United States Forest Service, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, the Breckenridge Police Department, the Dillon 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.