A shirtless redneck was photographed lighting a Nashville courthouse on fire last year during a riot after the death of George Floyd. The picture of him was crystal clear, right down to his tattoos. It showed him throwing accelerant into a broken window of the courthouse. Wesley Somers didn’t realize that to get away with such a crime, you must commit it in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, or New York.
The Nashville courthouse has been set on fire.
— Chloe Salsameda WJBF (@ChloeSalsameda) May 31, 2020
Somers, 26, was arrested at a home in Henderson, Tennessee. They have not determined why he set the courthouse on fire and the same night he was seen assaulting a light pole. He pled guilty yesterday to “malicious destruction of property.” The guilty plea was announced by the DOJ and Somers will have to receive a sentence of at least five years in prison for his destruction of property. he had been previously arrested for doing cocaine in his car with children present, endangering them as well.
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
The mayor of Nashville declared a state of emergency the night Somers set fire to the courthouse.
— Bloomberg (@business) May 31, 2020
This is one of the few situations where rioters have been charged with federal crimes and prosecuted. Roughly half of those arrested in Portland have had their federal charges dropped. Hundreds of rioters and looters in New York City recently had their charges dropped as well.
Nationwide rioting over George Floyd could cost up to $2 billion.
Officials have said they believe a small, coordinated group of instigators infiltrated the “I Will Breathe” rally and march, which drew more than a thousand people to downtown Nashville to protest police brutality and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
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Protesters remained peaceful for hours before isolated bursts of violence and vandalism arose, first at the Central Precinct and then at the courthouse.
Individuals threw rocks, smashed windows, pummeled police cruisers and damaged more than 30 buildings in the downtown corridor.
The courthouse windows were smashed, its walls were spray-painted with graffiti and fires were started inside the building, damaging a portion of the mayor’s office. A plaque commemorating the civil rights movement in Nashville was destroyed.