(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) A federal judge handed down a five-year prison sentence to an arsonist who set fire to the Nashville City Hall during the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots, Fox News reported.
Wesley Somers, 26, torched the Nashville City Hall, which doubles as the Metro Courthouse.
“On May 30, 2020, scores of local, state and federal law enforcement officers stood ready to protect the Constitutional right of every citizen to engage in peaceful protests,” said U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee.
“Unfortunately, Somers and others interfered with a lawful assembly and resorted to violence and destructive behavior, which resulted in significant property damage and placed many at risk of harm,” he continued.
The Metro Nashville Police Department’s SWAT unit arrested Somers, who lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, on May 31.
Police charged Somers with felony arson, vandalism, and disorderly conduct.
After the arrest, Somers “reveled in his newfound fame and related during a phone call that he was a celebrity among other inmates and had been nicknamed “Protest,”‘ court documents stated, according to WZTV.
He pleaded guilty, and District Judge Aleta A. Trauger sentenced him to five years in prison with three years of parole to follow.
The court proceedings referred to Somers as “the face of the attempt to burn down City Hall.”
Video captured Somers, shirtless, lighting a sign on fire, putting it through a window of the Nashville City Hall, and then spraying the fire with a flammable substance, causing it to quickly spread through the building.
BREAKING: Specialized Investigations Division detectives & SWAT officers moments ago arrested Wesley Somers, 25, on charges of felony arson, vandalism, & disorderly conduct for setting fire to Nashville’s Historic Courthouse Saturday night. pic.twitter.com/tg0AFrU3OP
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) June 1, 2020
UPDATE: Wesley Somers was sentenced today to 5 years in federal prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release for setting fire to Nashville’s Historic Courthouse following protests on 5/30/20. The @USAO_MDTN adopted the case on 6/3/20.
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 23, 2022