A fourth man has now pleaded guilty to arson in connection with the burning of a Minneapolis Police precinct in May. The Minnesota police station was destroyed during widespread Black Lives Matter protests over the Police killing of George Floyd. According to a report by United Press International, 25-year-old Davon De-Andre Turner now joins the list of defendants.
Turner pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit arson on Friday. He is the fourth person to be indicted in connection with the arson, which took place on May 28 — three days after Minneapolis police killed Floyd. Court documents in the case claim that protesters were chanting "burn it down, burn it down" as the fires were lit at the precinct. The U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Minnesota is prosecuting this case.
Turner will be sentenced on May 13, 2021, prosecutors say. His fellow defendants include 23-year-old Branden Michael Wolfe, Bryce Michel Williams and Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, all of whom have pleaded guilty over the last few weeks. All got the same "conspiracy to commit arson" charge.
The sentencings are spread out over the course of months, starting with Williams on March 9. Prosecutors will then sentence Robinson on April 6 and Wolfe on April 22 before getting to Turner.
In the meantime, the case against the police officers who killed Chauvin is moving at about the same pace. Last week, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled that Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, will get a separate trial from the other three officers involved. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. He will stand trial in March, while the other three officers will be tried in August.
Officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter, as all three were present during Chauvin's viral arrest. Video footage of Floyd's death caused a national surge in Black Lives Matter protests, even extending beyond the U.S. to the rest of the world.
Cahill argued that separating the trials was necessary for COVID-19 safety, saying he was abiding by Hennepin County Jail restrictions. The Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison reportedly argued that it was unnecessary to separate Chauvin's case from the other officers and worried that it would "retraumatize eyewitnesses and family members." Regardless, Chauvin will take the stand alone in March.