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Man Gets 18 Months Related to Summer 2020 Charleston Riots

FILE - Broad Street, Charleston, SC
Wikimedia Commons
FILE - Broad Street, Charleston, SC

A South Carolina man has been sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison after pleading guilty to taking part in violence that erupted last summer in Charleston following the death of George Floyd, prosecutors said Thursday.

Abraham Jenkins, 26, was also ordered to serve three years on supervised release once he's freed from prison.

Protests and civil unrest spread across the U.S. in the wake of Floyd's killing at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May 2000. In Charleston's downtown historic district, more than 100 businesses were damaged as a peaceful protest turned violent.

According to prosecutors, Jenkins stood atop of a Town of Mount Pleasant police vehicle, damaging it. He also sprayed a fire extinguisher at patrolling police officers, threw a water bottle at an officer and threw a burning T-shirt through a broken back window of a Charleston police cruiser, prosecutors said.

In a letter on his behalf, a woman who has known Jenkins for more than a decade wrote that his intentions during the protests "were not to be violent or malicious."

In the months after the rioting, Jenkins started a program called Big Bros 4 Life, which "provides mentoring, life skills, tutoring and community service opportunities to boys and young men in Charleston," added Allison Hilton, who serves on the board of that organization.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart said that Jenkins is the second of six defendants to be sentenced on federal charges related to violence in Charleston and Columbia in late May 2020.

"The United States Attorney's Office will always protect the First Amendment rights of South Carolinians," DeHart said in a news release. "However, when peaceful protests turn into violence and destruction, the violent agitators committing crimes will be brought to justice."