Man gets prison for Vegas police SUV fire amid 2020 protests
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The first of three men who have admitted setting fire to a Las Vegas police vehicle during a May 2020 racial injustice street protest was sentenced Wednesday to two years in federal prison by a U.S. judge who said he was giving him a “do-over” to reset his life.
Devarian Jamal Haynes apologized to the court, his family and “the city of Las Vegas” before U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon also sentenced him to three years of post-release supervision, 100 hours of community service and about $4,250 in restitution following his guilty plea in March to a reduced charge of civil disorder.
Co-defendants Tyree Walker and Ricardo Densmore also took plea deals in March that avoided trial on conspiracy and arson charges. Each charge could have gotten them five to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
Densmore is due for sentencing in July, and Walker is due for sentencing in August. Each is expected to receive a sentence similar to Haynes.
“I take full accountability,” Haynes, 25, said as he appeared by videoconference from his parents’ home in Houston, where he has been living on pretrial release. He said he wanted to “get it over with and just get back to growing as a man and a father.”
The judge noted that Haynes violated pretrial restrictions and had a record of drunken driving, domestic violence and “getting drunk and assaulting people that cost (him) a good career in the Army.”
But Gordon said he was willing to let Haynes “start over and continue on a better path.” The judge allowed Haynes to self-surrender in 30 days for his prison sentence.
According to court documents, Densmore recorded and posted video on social media showing Haynes pouring a flammable liquid from a fuel can through a missing window of a marked police patrol SUV. It then shows Walker tossing a flaming object inside and Haynes dropping the gas can into the vehicle.
The early May 31, 2020, incident occurred during more than a week of protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Thousands of people gathered at various times in downtown Las Vegas, on the resort-lined but coronavirus pandemic-shuttered Strip and in other cities.
Some protesters threw rocks and bottles, police used tear gas, several injuries were reported, some downtown Las Vegas businesses were vandalized, and police made dozens of arrests.
On June 2, 2020, an armed man was shot and killed by Las Vegas police after a crowd was ordered to disperse near the Las Vegas federal courthouse, and a Las Vegas police officer was wounded and left paralyzed in a shooting during a separate protest that night near a Strip hotel-casino.