A Minnesota man was hit with federal arson charges Monday in the May 28 torching of a Minneapolis police precinct amid George Floyd protests, federal prosecutors said.
Branden Wolfe, 23, of St. Paul, allegedly pushed a wooden barrel into the Third Precinct during the protest to spread the flames inside the stationhouse, the US Attorney’s Office in Minnesota said in a release.
The fire forced police to evacuate the precinct while protesters showered them with insults and debris.
“Wolfe admitted to being inside the Third Precinct the night of the arson, to taking property from the building, and to pushing a wooden barrel into the fire,” prosecutors said in a press release.
“Wolfe also identified himself in multiple witness photographs depicting Wolfe in front of the Third Precinct holding a police baton, with smoke and flames visible in the back,” they added.
Police responding to a 911 call arrested Wolfe on June 3 after they allegedly found him trying to break into a local home improvement store where he worked as a security guard until getting fired earlier in the day.
Wolfe was wearing body armor, handcuffs, and had a baton stolen from the precinct when he was arrested, the release said.
He had allegedly duct taped his name to the back of the armor, prosecutors said.
Police said they later found a police radio, a riot helmet, and a 9 mm pistol magazine in his apartment, prosecutors said.
He is charged with aiding and abetting arson and is due to appear in federal court on Tuesday.
The stationhouse fire came amid days of massive and violent protests in Minneapolis over Floyd’s May 25 death while being pinned to the ground by city police.
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