Crime, Law and Justice

Man given 5 years for firebombing in George Floyd aftermath

A Long Lake, Minn., man has been sentenced to five years in prison for firebombing a Dakota County courthouse in the civil unrest that followed the death of George Floyd last year.

Garrett Ziegler, 25, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to aiding and abetting arson. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised released and ordered to pay nearly $206,000 in restitution.

Ziegler and 33-year-old Fornandous Cortez Henderson, of Savage, used Molotov cocktails to set fire to the Western Service Center in Apple Valley, a government building that houses the courts and various agencies. Henderson also pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced in December to more than six years in prison, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Apple Valley police responded to a fire alarm at the building the morning of May 29, where they found broken windows, smoke, and flames coming from the building. according to a criminal complaint.

After putting out the fire, officers spotted Henderson and Ziegler on a nearby road and arrested them.

Investigators later executed a search warrant on the Ziegler's vehicle and found said they found elements for making the bombs.

Floyd, a Black man who was in handcuffs at the time, died May 25 after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for a number of minutes even as Floyd cried out that he couldn’t breathe. Widely seen bystander video sparked protests in the city, including violence, arson and theft, and quickly spread around the country.