A former Seattle resident is facing federal arson charges after he reportedly set fire to the police station in the six-block “autonomous” zone that protesters had claimed for themselves.
Isaiah Thomas Willoughby, 35, was arrested in Seattle on Tuesday night, according to U.S. Attorney Brian Moran.
A 2019 video posted on YouTube appears to show Willoughby participating in a council candidate forum for the city’s District 1, located due south from the city’s .
Willoughby, dressed in a bright yellow hoodie, was captured on surveillance video next to the wall of the Seattle Police East Precinct, which police officers had been forced to abandon when protesters took over the area.
Willoughby was seen pouring a liquid on the debris, lighting something on fire and then throwing the burning object onto the debris pile.
Willoughby was identified after “various people” recognized him from the footage.
He had tried to remove all social media posts that would have linked him to the arson, according to a press release, but his “distinctive sweatshirt” was too obvious. He now faces up to 20 years in prison.
“This is the third case we have charged federally for the criminal acts that tainted otherwise peaceful protests,” Moran said in a statement.
“Other crimes remain under investigation and may result in additional federal charges,” he continued. “Those who worked to turn protests into riots will not escape accountability for their criminal conduct.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office has also charged two other people with criminal acts related to the protests that rocked the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, according to the Seattle Times.
Margaret Aislinn Channon has been charged with five counts of arson for reportedly setting multiple police vehicles on fire.
And Devinare Antwan Parker has been charged with possession of an improvised destruction device after he brought a homemade firearm to a protest.
Willoughby is set to appear before the U.S. District Court in Seattle this week. His case is being investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, as well as by the Seattle Police Department.