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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Another Minnesota man has been sentenced for his involvement in starting the arson fires that destroyed the Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct headquarters last May.

23-year-old Branden Wolfe is the second of four people convicted in the case to be sentenced. The St. Paul man previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit arson. He has been ordered to federal prison for 41 months and will be liable for $12 million restitution.

“Mr. Wolfe furthered the destruction that took place in Minneapolis last summer by literally adding fuel to the fire. In addition to the arson, Mr. Wolfe stole body armor, weapons, and ammunition belonging to the Minneapolis Police Department,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Anders Folk. “This sentence underscores the seriousness of Mr. Wolfe’s actions and holds him to account.”

According to federal court documents, Wolfe pushed a barrel into a fire started in the entrance of the police facility for the purpose of accelerating the flames during the rioting that occurred in late May following the death of George Floyd. He was also accused of entering the building and stealing a variety of pieces of equipment, including a police radio, a police vest and riot helmet, a belt and belt and handcuffs, ammunition, and other items.

A Brainerd man, 23-year-old Dylan Robinson, was sentenced to 4-years in federal prison and his share of the $12 million restitution. Two other men, 27-year-old Bryce Williams and 25-year-old Davon Turner have also pleaded guilty in the case and are awaiting sentencing.

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Timeline: George Floyd's Death, Protests, Riots, Arrests, Chauvin Trial

It was late afternoon on Memorial Day, 2020 and many Minnesotans had observed the normally active weekend hunkered down because of the growing pandemic.

George Floyd drove to a grocery store in Minneapolis and bought some cigarettes. He was accused by employees of making the purchase with a counterfeit $20 bill and police were called. Floyd was still there in his vehicle when two officers arrived. About 10 minutes later, Chauvin and another officer showed up and the situation began to escalate. Chauvin began kneeling on Floyd's neck as he was facedown on the street. Despite repeated pleas from Floyd and a growing crowd of bystanders to remove his knee, Chauvin continued as if frozen in position with no facial expression. 

After more than 8 minutes, Chauvin finally stood up and Floyd had become unresponsive. An ambulance was called and a short while later, it was reported Floyd was dead.

A video of the incident slowly spread on social media around the state, the country and the world. Viewers literally watched a man slowly die, repeating "I can't breathe." 

The now historic response began the following day.


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