BRAINERD, Minn. -- Another central Minnesota man was federally charged this week in connection with the burning the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct building during the May 28 riots following the murder of George Floyd.
U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald on Wednesday, June 17, announced in a news release the charges filed against a second man — 26-year-old Bryce Michael Williams of Staples, Minn., — for conspiracy to commit arson. The attorney’s office Tuesday announced charges against a Brainerd lakes area man, Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, who was charged with aiding and abetting an arson in connection fires of the Minneapolis police station.
Williams, who was arrested Tuesday, made his initial appearance earlier Wednesday before Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
According to the allegations in the complaint, on the night of May 28, the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct was overrun and heavily damaged due to vandalism and arson. Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives identified multiple separate fires that were started in the building. Investigators stated they were able to identify Williams in surveillance video footage from the police station. Williams, who was wearing a mask, a baseball cap, and a hooded sweatshirt, can be seen in the video standing near the entrance of the third precinct holding a Molotov cocktail while other individuals attempt to light the wick. Soon after, the surveillance video shows the crowd mostly disperse and Williams is fully viewable holding the Molotov cocktail.
ATF investigators also reviewed videos posted on William’s TikTok account May 28 and May 29. In one of the videos, Williams can be seen standing in front of the burning 3rd Precinct building wearing clothing consistent with the clothing he was wearing in the surveillance video, the complaint stated. In another video, William’s face is clearly visible and he appears to be in close proximity to the third precinct building, prosecutors stated in the complaint.
Williams was booked in the Hennepin County Jail in January 2015. This booking photo matches the face of the unmasked individual depicted in the videos, which includes a distinctive bird tattoo on the Staples man’s chest.
During the investigation, authorities reviewed a video posted on Instagram, with an account holder identified as “n830show” who conducted an interview with Williams. During the interview, Williams told the person that he was “there when they first burned down the police station” referring to the night of May 28. Williams also told the person he participated in the protests during the day and the riots at night. Williams said, “I participated in the riots at night of course, cause I’m with my people. They all doing (explicit) and getting tear gassed, of course, I’m going to riot too.”
During the interview, Williams was asked if he would consider burning down the building part of the rioting?
“Yeah, definitely that’s part of rioting, its mass destruction -- that’s what a riot is, its mass destruction,” he said as quoted in the complaint.
The ATF and FBI urge the public to report suspected arson, use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information specifically related to the third precinct fire or other business fires in the Twin Cities can call 888-ATF-TIPS or 888-283-8477, email ATFTips@atf.gov or submit information anonymously via ReportIt.com. In addition to fires, the FBI is looking for people who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 800-CALLFBI or 800-225-5324 or submit images or videos at FBI.gov/violence.