Man Who Allegedly Said He Would ‘Burn The Whole Police Force Down,’ To Plead Guilty For Torching Police Car During Riots
A Rhode Island man who allegedly torched a police car during riots in 2020 is expected to plead guilty to related charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Rhode Island announced Wednesday.
Nicholas L. Scaglione, 31, will reportedly admit to setting a Providence Police Department cruiser on fire in downtown Providence on June 2. Federal and local authorities determined Scaglione squirted flammable liquid into the vehicle, stoking the flames and destroying the cruiser.
A Cranston man is expected to plead guilty and face at least five years in federal prison for torching a @ProvidenceRIPD cruiser during the riots in downtown Providence in the summer of 2020 https://t.co/tHFwtkHlGO
— US Attorney RI (@USAO_RI) March 17, 2021
Scaglione was charged with malicious attempt to damage or destroy a vehicle, according to the statement.
Scaglione allegedly shared information with others about his and another suspect’s involvement in the burning of the cruiser, according to WHDH. In a text message, he allegedly described “years” of growing anger toward the police.
“But that police cruiser that went up in flames last night can be replaced… I was pissed. I’ve been pissed,” one text message said.
“That was pent up years of rage and frustration with the way I’ve seen and been treated by police. That cop car can be replaced. People’s lives cannot… Then I go out fighting and standing up for s**t I believe in. Cuz I know for a fact if it was you or anyone else I was close to I’d burn the whole police force down and not even blink.”
Luis Joel Sierra, 36, was arrested in August and a federal grant jury named him in a one-count indictment in February. Sierra faced a federal arson charge for his involvement in allegedly setting the police cruiser on fire, according to WJAR. WHDH reported that Sierra set the police cruiser on fire by learning inside it and igniting the flames with lighter fluid.
If convicted, Scaglione faces up to twenty years in federal prison with a mandatory minimum of five years of imprisonment and a term of supervised release of three years, according to the attorney’s office.
Following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, protests and riots erupted across the country, leading to vandalism and property destruction. Former officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter after kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
More than 10,000 people were arrested within days of protests and riots. Most arrests were concentrated in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and Philadelphia, and were for low-level offenses such as curfew violations and failure to disperse, according to the Associated Press (AP). (RELATED: 20-Year-Old Accused Of Inciting Riots During Pittsburgh Protests Works At Amazon, Police Reports Say)