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Man who set SPD car on fire, stole police rifle during May 2020 protest sentenced

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7 TV)

A Seattle man was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Thursday to five years in prison for setting a Seattle Police Department car on fire and stealing a rifle out of another patrol car during the George Floyd protests in downtown Seattle that escalated into destruction and looting.

Tyre Wayne Means, Jr., 25, will serve the sentence concurrent to a sentence in Kitsap County Superior Court for burglary.

According to case records, shortly after 4 p.m. on May 30, 2020, Means was seen on video lighting a paper towel and putting it in the back of a Seattle police car parked outside of Nordstrom on Sixth Avenue in downtown Seattle.

The car was destroyed after people in the crowd fed the fire with accelerants.

Means was also seen on video reaching through the broken rear window of another SPD patrol car, removing a rifle bag and looking inside.

Video showed Means fighting with a man over the rifle before running away. A later surveillance video from Pine Street, around the corner from where the rifle was stolen, shows Means fighting with a man. During the fight, a third man picked up the rifle bag and walked away.

The rifle was anonymously returned to a Seattle Police Department precinct later that day.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, Means was identified in the video by his distinctive clothing, jewelry, tattoos, and a female companion who also had distinctive tattoos and a significant social media presence.

Means was arrested in Bremerton, where he was meeting with his probation officer.

Because he has two felony convictions in Georgia and a felony domestic violence conviction in Washington, he is not allowed to have guns.

“Your conduct was reckless, destructive and extremely dangerous to those who were there for peaceful protest,” U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said at the sentencing hearing.

“This defendant is one of a smaller group who chose to abuse the cover of lawful protests to carry out acts of violence. His actions risked the safety of peaceful protesters and undercut their important messages and causes,” acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said.

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