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Two men plead guilty to charge in Minneapolis police precinct fire during George Floyd protests

Two men plead guilty to charge in Minneapolis police precinct fire during George Floyd protests
© Bonnie Cash

Two St. Paul, Minn., men have pleaded guilty to charges in a fire at a Minnesota police precinct during the George Floyd protests last May, according to the Department of Justice.

The men, 25-year-old Davon De-Andre Turner and Branden Michael Wolfe, 23, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit arson. Turner entered his plea on Friday, and Wolfe pleaded guilty on Dec. 22. 

U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald announced both pleas on Friday.

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Wolfe's sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 22, while Turner's will take place on May 13.

Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct, was where the officers involved in Floyd's death worked at the time. Since then, the four law enforcement officials have been criminally charged, and Minneapolis has enacted changes to help create more officer accountability.

In late May, 2020, bystander footage posted on the internet showed former police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck. Floyd said that he couldn't breathe during the incident, but Chauvin continued to hold his knee against his neck for several minutes. Floyd then became unresponsive and was pronounced dead shortly afterward. 

His death ignited nationwide protests that lasted through the summer of 2020, including in the state of Minnesota. 

Both Turner and Wolfe were among the crowd of protestors outside the precinct on the night of May 28, when the crowd began to chant "Burn it down."

After the fence erected around the precinct's perimeter was torn down, Turner, along with co-defendant Bryce Michael Williams, allegedly took an incendiary device into the station and started a fire. Shortly after, Wolfe pushed a barrel into a fire lit in a second location inside the precinct, which he admitted he did with the intent of accelerating the flames, a Department of Justice document states.

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Williams and Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, another man who was allegedly involved, were previously charged for their roles.

Chauvin is facing murder and manslaughter charges, for which he is set to begin trial on March 8.

The other three officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao, will stand trial on Aug. 23.