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Court: United States District Court for the District of Utah (Salt Lake County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Salt Lake City, UT: Civil unrest property damages charge criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant, Jackson Stuart Tamowski Patton, 27, of Salt Lake City, was indicted for his role in the burning of a Salt Lake City police car during the May 2020 civil unrest in Salt Lake City.
Patton previously pleaded guilty to one felony count of civil disorder in federal court in May of 2021. In the plea agreement, Patton admitted that, on May 30, 2020, he was protesting the killing of George Floyd when protesters turned violent and overturned a Salt Lake City Police Department patrol car. Patton admitted that law enforcement officers were lawfully engaged in the performance of their official duties during the commission of the civil disorder and that he participated in the burning of the overturned patrol car with the intent and purpose of obstructing, impeding, and interfering with law enforcement officers. Patton also admitted to moving a burning cloth into the interior of the overturned patrol car, which accelerated the burning of the patrol car.
In a sentencing memorandum filed by prosecutors, text messages sent by Patton during the days leading up to and during the protest were submitted to the court. On May 29, 2020, the day before the Salt Lake City protest, Patton texted the following to his circle of friends, “what time does the riot start tomorrow,” and “do [I] bring machetes to the riot tomorrow” and “we can all have one.” He then texted, “yes dude. I’m turning it into a riot.” On May 30, 2020, the day of the riot, Patton texted, “[I] need to figure out how to turn it into [a riot].” That same day, Patton texted “all I gotta do is sneakily throw a rock through a window” and immediately followed up with “of the police station” and that “[I]’m breaking things.” In a separate text string, Patton stated to a friend that “[I]’m fully going down there with the intention of breaking things. [I]f you don’t want to be near me I understand. [B]ut people need to know that [S]alt [L]ake is upset too.” After the civil disruption, Patton texted to a group of friends that “lol [ a friend] filmed me starting the fire…we just a [sic] [expletive] a cop car up with a cop in it…he literally had to curb hop his car to get out.” Patton later texted “look who started the fire lol.”
During the course of the prosecution, multiple terabytes of data, including video and still images, were submitted as evidence in the case. Sources of the evidence included multiple social media platforms, as well as evidence obtained from multiple state, federal, and local law enforcement agencies, and evidence received from private citizens.
On August 3, 2021 co-defendant Lateesha Richards was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison for her role in the burning of the patrol car. Co-defendants Latroi Devon Newbins and Larry Raynold Williams Jr. entered a plea of guilty and now await sentencing. Defendant Christopher Isidro Rojas’ case remains set for trial later this year.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. Special Agents from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with Special Agents from the ATF, and detectives and officers from the Salt Lake City Police Department, conducted the investigation.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Patton was also ordered to pay $2,500 in restitution and to serve 36 months of supervised release after completing his prison sentence.