News

Hendersonville man who set fire to Nashville, TN courthouse sentenced to federal prison



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Hendersonville man charged with setting the Metro Courthouse on fire during the May 30, 2020, protests has been sentenced to federal prison.

According to the United State Department of Justice, Wesley Somers, 26, was sentenced to five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

“On May 30, 2020, scores of local, state and federal law enforcement officers stood ready to protect the Constitutional right of every citizen to engage in peaceful protests,” said U.S. Attorney Wildasin.  “Unfortunately, Somers and others interfered with a lawful assembly and resorted to violence and destructive behavior, which resulted in significant property damage and placed many at risk of harm.  We will always defend the right of every individual to exercise their First Amendment liberties but will not tolerate the actions of those who choose to exploit peaceful protest by resorting to violence and intimidation.” 

Somers was charged in a criminal complaint on June 3, 2020, following the May 30th protests in downtown Nashville as a result of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During the May 30th protests, several people gathered in front of the Nashville City Hall, also known as the Metro Courthouse. Somers, along with other protesters, began breaking windows and spray painting graffiti on the courthouse facade. A fire was also set inside the courthouse.

Pictures and videos were later posted on social media and across the Internet, with one video showing Somers lighting a sign on fire and putting it through the window of the courthouse. Somers then reportedly sprayed an accelerant into the fire, causing the fire inside the courthouse to spread quickly.

After receiving numerous tips from the public, Metro police identified Somers as the suspect.

Court records also show that after Somers was arrested and booked into the Davidson County Jail, he grew proud of himself for his new fame and during a phone call, he called himself a celebrity among the other inmates and had been nicknamed “Protest.”

Somers, along with 23-year-old Shelby Ligons of Nashville, were indicted on October 20, 2020. Somers pleaded guilty on June 29, 2021, while Ligons pleaded guilty on March 3, 2021. She was sentenced on August 11, 2021, to a year and one day in prison.

Metro police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives all participated in the investigation.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.