According to reports, 23-year-old Dylan Shakespeare Robinson has been ordered to pay $12 million for his part in setting fire to a Minneapolis police station during the Black Lives Matter riots in May 2020.
The fine must be paid after Robinson serves a four-year prison sentence, with the Minnesota man pleading guilty to a conspiracy to commit arson charge in December. Robinson’s lawyer said that “there is no realistic chance” his client will be able to afford the $12 million fine.
“Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, 23, was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release and pay back $12 million for damages that resulted from the May 2020 precinct fire,” reported The Associated Press.
“A federal complaint accused Robinson of lighting a Molotov cocktail that another person threw toward the 3rd Precinct headquarters on East Lake Street. In addition, Robinson and others allegedly tore down a fence that surrounded the building,” The Associated Press added.
“Three other people have pleaded guilty in federal court for their roles in the precinct fire and are awaiting sentencing,” the report concluded.
According to the BBC, Robinson was one of the thousands of people who engaged in weeks of protests and riots in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd, with Robinson traveling 120 miles south to the city from Brainerd, Minnesota.
“Surveillance video at the precinct shows Robinson lighting an “incendiary device” held by another person and later setting a fire inside the station near a first-floor stairwell, officials said,” the BBC added.
“On the night of May 28, 2020, Mr. Robinson chose to depart from lawful protest and instead engaged in violence and destruction. The arson at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct put lives at risk and contributed to widespread lawlessness in Minneapolis,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Anders Folk, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement. “With today’s sentence, Mr. Robinson is held accountable for his actions.”
“ATF is committed to investigating the civil unrest arsons of 2020 that occurred throughout the Twin Cities,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeff Reed, of the ATF St. Paul Field Division. “Arson, being inherently violent, is a serious crime that put many of our community members at risk, and it cannot be tolerated.”
“The danger posed by the defendant, in this case, was very real,” said Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis field office. “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message — regardless of motivation, when someone is intent on conducting a violent act that breaks federal law, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will move assertively to hold them accountable. This type of behavior puts public servants and our entire community in danger, and we simply will not let it go unaddressed.”
In June 2020, it was reported that damage from fires and vandalism in Minneapolis following the Black Lives Matter riots amounted to over $55 million. One month later, Gov. Walz requested federal funding after riots were estimated to have caused $500 million in damage.