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U.S. Attorney's Office

Feds charge fourth person with burning police car in Salt Lake riot

By Dennis Romboy, KSL | Posted - Aug. 14, 2020 at 8:06 a.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — Federal authorities have charged a fourth person in the burning of a Salt Lake police car during a violent demonstration over the death of George Floyd in May.

Lateesha Richards, also known as Lateesha Kahryn Ritchards, 24, of Salt Lake City faces one count of arson, according to a complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court.

While she has not turned herself in to the U.S. Marshals Service, Richards appeared in court with her attorney via Zoom on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Magistrate Judge Jared Bennett found her to be a danger to the community and ordered her to be held in jail pending trial. He ordered her to turn herself in by Friday morning.

A peaceful protest on May 30 turned violent, including protesters flipping over a police patrol car and setting it on fire at 400 South near 200 East. The burning car was one of the most visible moments of the riot.

Video footage shows a person, later identified by police as Richards, holding a cellphone as she walks toward the overturned car, according to prosecutors. She is then seen taking a selfie with the burning car.

Richards walked away momentarily and returned holding what prosecutors say appears to be an item of clothing. The complaint alleges she bent down and tossed the clothing onto the small flames before running away.

Prosecutors say the clothing Richards threw onto the fire acted as kindling and increased the size of flames. The car becomes engulfed in fire shortly after.

Richards returned to the area with Latroi Newbins, another defendant in the arson case, to take more selfies with the burning car in the background, according to the complaint.

In addition to Newbins, Jackson Stuart Tamowski Patton and Christopher Rojas, all of Salt Lake City, were charged earlier in connection with the arson. Patton remains in custody. Newbins and Rojas were released with conditions pending trial.

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