State Watch

Woman sentenced to prison for setting fire to police cars during Seattle protests

Judges use a small wooden mallet to signal for attention or order.

A 26-year-old woman from Washington who pleaded guilty to arson in connection with the burning of five police cars during Seattle protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020 has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Margaret Aislinn Channon’s sentencing came after she was arrested in June 2020 for setting fire to the police vehicles. She was identified from a video that showed a person starting the blazes while wearing distinctive clothing with tattoos on their hands. Channon was also shown breaking into downtown businesses and taking clothing and other items, according to The Seattle Times.

Court documents indicated that Channon admitted to smashing the window at a Verizon store and destroying the electronic cash register in a sandwich shop, the Times reported.

During the sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour told Channon that she had done “tremendous damage to Black Lives Matter in Seattle,” the Times added.

“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 asserted, according to the newspaper. 

“Indeed, our democracy depends on both exercising and protecting these rights. But Ms. Channon’s conduct was itself an attack on democracy,” Brown added.

Brown also argued that Channon “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.”

As part of her plea agreement, Channon will be required to pay restitution for the vehicles that she burned, the Times noted.

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