Two St. Paul men pleaded guilty Friday to helping set the fire that burned the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct headquarters on May 28 during protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd.
Davon De-Andre Turner, 25, and Branden Michael Wolfe, 23, both pleaded guilty in federal District Court in Minneapolis to one count each of conspiracy to commit arson, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Two other men have also pleaded guilty in connection with the fire, and a fifth man has been charged.
The Third Precinct building was among 150 Twin Cities properties damaged or burned in the protests and riots that erupted after a Minneapolis police officer pinned Floyd, an unarmed Black man, to the ground while Floyd and onlookers begged for his life. The four officers who have been charged in Floyd's death all worked out of the Third Precinct.
According to guilty pleas and documents filed with the court, Turner and Wolfe went separately to the Third Precinct, where hundreds of people were gathered and chanting "Burn it down! Burn it down!" When protesters tore down a fence meant to bar trespassers from the building, Turner and a man he didn't know, later identified as co-defendant Bryce Michael Williams, worked together to light a Molotov cocktail. Turner took the device into the building and used it to start a fire. Wolfe pushed a barrel into a fire set by other unidentified people at the building's entrance with the intention, he said in his guilty plea, of accelerating the fire.
Wolfe is scheduled for sentencing on April 22 and Turner on May 13.
Williams, 26, of Staples, Minn., and another co-conspirator, Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, 23, of Brainerd, have also pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit arson for their roles in the fire. Robinson also helped light a Molotov cocktail, according to federal charges. Williams will be sentenced on March 9 and Robinson on April 6.
Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old from Texas and a member of the far-right anti-government Boogaloo Bois, has been charged with firing at the precinct with an AK-47-style rifle while people were inside, as well as with helping set the building ablaze. He was charged in October with one count of interstate travel to incite a riot.
Katy Read • 612-673-4583