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Salt Lake man admits helping burn overturned police car in 2020 riot

A Salt Lake police patrol car was set on fire at the corner of 200 East and 400 South on May 30, 2020, amid protests calling for justice in the death of George Floyd. A Salt Lake man admitted in federal court this week to throwing a burning cloth into the overturned car during the protest.

A Salt Lake police patrol car was set on fire at the corner of 200 East and 400 South on May 30, 2020, amid protests calling for justice in the death of George Floyd. A Salt Lake man admitted in federal court this week to throwing a burning cloth into the overturned car during the protest. (Carter Williams, KSL.com)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake man has admitted to lighting a cloth on fire and throwing it into a police car that had been overturned during a protest against police brutality in May 2020.

Christopher Isidro Rojas, 29, pleaded guilty to a felony count of civil disorder Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, according to a news release.

As part of his plea agreement, Rojas admitted to helping burn the overturned police patrol car outside of the Salt Lake City Main Library on May 30, 2020. Demonstrators were protesting the killing of George Floyd, but the event turned violent when a group of people flipped the car and set it on fire.

Rojas admitted to using a cigarette lighter to light a piece of white cloth on fire, which he then threw into the car, according to the release. Prosecutors in the case had previously alleged that Rojas also helped rip a bumper off the car and said he was seen in videos after the fire appearing to celebrate and saying that he had helped burn the car.

Rojas is set for sentencing on Nov. 24. He faces a prison term of up to five years, as well as a restitution payment of up to $2,500. He also faces a possible three years of probation after he is released from prison.

Rojas is one of five co-defendants in the case. In August, Jackson Patton was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in burning the police car. Earlier in August, Lateesha Richards was sentenced to a 20-month prison term.

Co-defendants Latroi Devon Newbins and Larry Raynold Williams Jr. have pleaded guilty in their cases and are awaiting sentencing.

The May 30, 2020 protest was part of nationwide demonstrations against the killing of Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death and sentenced to 22 years in prison.

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