Two anti-police rioters who participated in a Black Lives Matter protest-turned-riot last summer are expected to be hit with prison sentences of about two years for their participation in the city destruction, including setting fire to two vehicles belonging to the city and state.
Rioters MacKenzie Drechsler and Shakell Sanks admitted on Monday to “their roles in the events that unfolded after a George Floyd/Black Lives Matter rally and march devolved into chaos outside of the Public Safety Building on Exchange Boulevard” in Rochester, New York, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
One of the destroyed vehicles, a Ford Focus, belonged to the city of Rochester’s Family Crisis Intervention Team, and was marked as such. The other vehicle belonged to the New York state attorney general’s Office.
In addition to arson, Drechsler admitted to looting and committing property damage throughout the city, the D&C noted.
The criminals’ are expected to be hit with about two-year sentences, though the judge can lower or add to the 24-33 month prison sentence range: “Dreschler’s sentencing range is 24 to 30 months,” the D&C report said. “But a federal judge is not beholden to the agreement and can sentence her to a prison term shorter or longer than the plea agreement. Sanks agreed to a term in prison of 27 to 33 months.”
Their sentences will be handed down in August.
The D&C reported on the riot and Drechsler and Sanks’ participation:
Events on May 30 “turned violent and resulted in vandalism, damaged property, looting, and fires,” prosecutors said. According to the plea agreements, “A ‘riot’ means a public disturbance involving an act or acts of violence by one or more persons … which shall constitute a clear and present danger” to property or people.
At 6 p.m., Sanks, Dreschler and others lit pieces of fabric on fire and placed them into the gas tank of a car parked across the street from the Public Safety Building. The Ford Focus belonged to the city of Rochester’s Family Crisis Intervention Team and was marked with city logos and city license plates. Twenty minutes after the vehicle was lit on fire, it was a total loss.
Dreschler also set a vehicle belonging to the state Attorney General’s Office on fire. She placed flaming cardboard inside the 2009 Chevrolet Impala and walked away, prosecutors said. That vehicle was also a total loss.
“Following her actions in the burning of the two cars, Drechsler also participated in breaking glass during looting that took place,” prosecutors said. She admitted to taking part in looting and property damage throughout the city.
Dreschler is being held without bail since she’s considered “a danger to the community based on her conduct during the violent protests,” said a press release from U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr.
“Rioting, the setting of fires, and the destruction of property, however, are not constitutionally protected activities,” the press release added. “They are crimes. The proceedings before Judge Larimer should serve as a reminder to those who commit crimes that when you do so you may ultimately forfeit your most precious constitutional right — your right to liberty.”
Last March, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Prude, a black male, interacted with officers from the Rochester Police Department (RPD) after at least two people called 911 about Prude’s behavior and welfare, included Prude’s own brother, Joe Prude.
Police reports indicate Prude was restrained by officers while waiting for the ambulance the cops summoned — video suggests this was done soon after Prude told officers, “Give me your gun, I need it.”
As noted by Forbes, Prude “had been taken to the local hospital for suicidal thoughts about eight hours before his encounter with police on March 22.”
As cops were physically restraining the man for about two minutes, body camera footage and media reports suggest the 41-year-old threw up and lost consciousness. He was reportedly resuscitated on the way to the hospital but likely suffered severe brain damage and was pulled from life support about a week later by his family.
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