Protester gets 2 years for lighting fire outside precinct

SEATTLE (AP) — A man was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison for setting a fire outside a Seattle police precinct during the city’s “occupied” zone protest in June 2020.

Isaiah Thomas Willoughby, of Tacoma, Washington, admitted he used gasoline to soak a debris pile outside the abandoned police precinct on June 12, 2020, and set it ablaze, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman.

The U.S. District Court in Seattle also imposed a 3-year period of supervised release following the 2-year sentence, The Seattle Times reported.

Surveillance video showed Willoughby, 36, lighting the fire and walking away. The fire, the U.S. attorney’s office said, put some protestors who were camping in the area at risk and scorched the side of the police building before it was extinguished by other protesters.

Willoughby’s own experiences with law enforcement and the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police largely motivated his decision to light the fire, his attorney, Dennis Carroll, said in a statement.

The several-block “occupied protest zone” east of downtown operated for several weeks in 2020 and drew national attention following Floyd’s killing. Seattle police eventually cleared the area.