Edmonds man sentenced to prison for torching police cars during Seattle riot

Kelly Jackson was sentenced to prison for throwing Molotov cocktails at police vehicles.

SEATTLE — An Edmonds man was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday for torching Seattle police cars during a George Floyd protest that turned violent last year.

Investigators say surveillance video shows 21-year-old Kelly Jackson throwing two Molotov cocktails and burning two police cars during the May 30, 2020, protests that turned into a riot in downtown Seattle.

According to case records, after a protest in downtown Seattle, police had videos of a suspect, a white man in distinctive clothing, using glass containers with a flammable substance and a wick to burn or try to burn two police vehicles.

After an anonymous tip, Jackson was identified as the suspect. Authorities said cellphone records showed Jackson was in the area at the time of the fires. Police also obtained videos that show Jackson traveling into Seattle with at least one of the glass bottles with a wick.

“Other videos show Jackson throwing one Molotov cocktail into a police vehicle, then hiding himself in the crowd and jumping up and down with excitement after his crime,” a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington said.

Police said another video shows the second Molotov cocktail thrown at the windshield of a police vehicle, bouncing off, and exploding in flames on the sidewalk outside the Nordstrom store.

When authorities reviewed Jackson’s internet activity, it showed that he looked up information on how to make Molotov cocktails, prosecutors said.

Jackson was arrested in September. He pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a destructive device on January 6.

“Jackson clearly planned not to come and peacefully protest, but to come and perpetrate criminal acts,” said ATF Seattle Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson.   “We respect everyone’s right to free speech, but free speech does not come in the form of a Molotov cocktail.  His premeditated actions and complete disregard for the safety of those around him warrant this sentence.”

He was sentenced to 40 months in prison and three years of supervised release.