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Tacoma woman pleads guilty to setting 5 Seattle police vehicles on fire during 2020 protest

Sep 28, 2021, 2:27 PM | Updated: Sep 29, 2021, 2:20 pm
Police vehicle fire, Seattle protest...
A vehicle on fire during a May 2020 protest in downtown Seattle. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

A 26-year-old Tacoma woman pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the burning of five police vehicles in May of 2020 in downtown Seattle.

SPD arrests suspect for setting fire to police vehicle with officer inside

Margaret Aislinn Channon can be seen on video footage using fire and aerosol cans to light five Seattle Police Department vehicles on fire during a spring 2020 protest turned riot. It also shows her removing items of clothing from several stores in the area, smashing the window of a Verizon store, and destroying a cash register in a sandwich shop.

In the video, Channon is wearing distinctive clothing and has tattoos on her hands and arms. She was arrested on June 11, 2020, as part of a joint investigation by the FBI, ATF, and SPD.

Having now pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, she will be responsible for restitution to the city, with a dollar figure to be determined at her sentencing in January 2022. She also faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison for arson. The maximum sentence would be 20 years, although both Channon and prosecutors have agreed to five years as a recommendation to the judge.

A Seattle man who also set fire to an SPD vehicle during the same protest turned riot was similarly sentenced to five years in prison over the summer. He was later seen on video reaching into the broken rear window of another SPD car, removing a rifle, and looking inside. The weapon was anonymously returned to the Seattle Police Department that same day.

In March 2021, an Edmonds man was sentenced to just over three years in prison with three years of supervised release for setting fire to two police vehicles using Molotov cocktails, also during that May 30, 2020, protest turned riot in downtown Seattle.

KIRO 7 TV staff contributed to this report.

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Tacoma woman pleads guilty to setting 5 Seattle police vehicles on fire during 2020 protest