New York Daily News
A woman who torched five cop cars during the anti-police brutality protests in Seattle in 2020 was sentenced Tuesday to five years behind bars.
Margaret Aislinn Channon, 26, was captured on video using fire and aerosol cans to light five Seattle Police Department vehicles on fire on May 30, 2020, days after George Floyd was killed, kicking off nationwide protests.
She also admitted to stealing clothes from nearby stores, smashing the window at a Verizon store and entering a sandwich shop and destroying the cash register, according to the Department of Justice.
“The right to protest, gather, and call out injustices is one of the dearest and most important rights we enjoy in the United States,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a statement.
“Indeed, our democracy depends on both exercising and protecting these rights. But Ms. Channon’s conduct was itself an attack on democracy. She used the cover of lawful protests to carry out dangerous and destructive acts, risking the safety of everyone around her and undermining the important messages voiced by others.”
At her sentencing, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour blamed Channon for doing “tremendous damage” to the Black Lives Matter movement in Seattle.
Channon’s attorneys called her actions a “seriously misguided attempt to effect positive change” and pointed out that she had been peacefully protesting before that night.
Prosecutors offered her a lighter sentence if she pleaded guilty to conspiracy instead of arson, but Channon said she wanted to take full responsibility.
“Black Lives Matter is an organization with leadership that does not condone illegal activity,” she wrote in a letter to court. “I apologize to the many workers and activists — who have given decades of their lives to building a countermeasure to police violence — that did not want to see fire.”