W. Anders Folk, US Attorney, stated he was just ‘caught up in the rage.’
A Black Lives Matter rioter, who killed a man after setting fire to a pawnshop, may have his sentence reduced because US Attorney W. Anders Folk said he was just “caught up in the fury” of the riots.
BLM riots exploded across Minnesota in 2020 as hundreds of people took to the streets, vandalizing private property and looting local businesses.
Montez Terriel Lee Jr. broke into a pawn shop and set it ablaze after pouring fire accelerant across the floor.
One of the videos captured Lee standing in front of the burning shop, saying, “F*** this place. We’re gonna burn this b**** to the ground,” court records revealed.
Oscar Lee Stewart, 30, was found dead among the debris almost two months later.
Lee took the life of an innocent man that night because he got “caught up in the fury,” according to prosecutors.
The US Attorney’s brief does, however, admit Lee’s bad judgment.
The document goes on to describe how a fire can be unpredictable, as well as the inadvertent damage that arson can wreak.
As 100FedUp writes:
Arson, in particular, is an inherently dangerous and unpredictable felony offense. The arsonist who sets a building ablaze cannot know the extent of the damage or death he or she will cause—the crime is by its nature chaotic and uncontrollable. Surrounding homes and businesses may be inadvertently destroyed; firefighters, people trapped in buildings, or the arsonist him or herself may be killed. In this case, Mr. Stewart paid the cost for Mr. Lee’s flagrantly dangerous disregard for others. Mr. Lee states that he checked the building before he set the fire to make sure no one would be hurt. If true, this is at least some small measure of precaution. But as the evidence makes clear, it was woefully inadequate. Mr. Lee’s check of the building did not save Oscar Stewart’s life; nor would it have been effective in saving the lives of any firefighters had they become trapped; nor would it have saved the lives and property of nearby neighbors if the wind carried the conflagration to their homes.
Lee acted recklessly and committed a crime that could have spiraled out of control at any moment. The excerpt above from the memo states the danger that Lee should have been aware of at the time of the arson. Whether he wanted to or not, the fact is that he killed a man and robber a family of a loved one.
According to records, Lee did not bring the gas can with him but discovered it inside the pawnshop.
According to the Post Bulletin, the incident occurred the same night when the Minneapolis Third Precinct building was destroyed by fire.
As the Post Millenial reported:
Lee’s legal counsel argued in written filings for an 88-month prison sentence, stating the lighter sentence would allow Lee to “have an additional chance at life; to be a father to provide for his community, and to become a law-abiding citizen once again.”
In court Friday morning, attorney Bruce Rivers said that Lee was “caught up in a mass protest against police violence.”
“I was hoping to be another voice added to the cry for change,” Lee said.
“I wanted to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. Though I don’t stand by my actions, I stand by my reasons behind them,” he added.