SEATTLE – A woman in the state of Washington was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for arson after igniting several police vehicles ablaze during Seattle riots in 2020.
Margaret Aislinn Channon, 26, was filmed using fire and aerosol cans to light five vehicles of the Seattle Police Department on fire during a May 30 protest, following the death of George Floyd, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.
Prosecutors noted in a sentencing memo that hundreds of people were nearby where the police units were set ablaze, and some individuals were “only a few feet away.”
“All of them were in harm’s way if one of the vehicles had exploded,” the memo stated, according to the New York Post.
“The right to protest, gather, and call out injustices is one of the dearest and most important rights we enjoy in the United States,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said. “Indeed, our democracy depends on both exercising and protecting these rights. But Ms. Channon’s conduct was itself an attack on democracy. She used the cover of lawful protests to carry out dangerous and destructive acts, risking the safety of everyone around her and undermining the important messages voiced by others.”
Margaret Channon used fire and aerosol cans to light five vehicles of the Seattle Police Department on fire during a May 30, 2020 riot, according to DOJ. (Facebook/ Preston Phillips, KOMO News Seattle)
Channon’s criminal activity wasn’t limited to arson, prosecutors said. Video also captured her entering stores and stealing clothing.
According to DOJ’s press statement, Channon admitted to smashing the window at the Verizon Store and destroying the electronic cash register at a sandwich shop.
Investigators identified the Tacoma woman based on information from her social media account, clothing and tattoos.
Tacoma Woman Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Arson at Downtown Seattle Protest: Margaret Aislinn Channon of Tacoma, Washington, has been sentenced to five years in prison for arson for burning five Seattle Police vehicles. https://t.co/CJZD1ZgRdJ
— FBI Seattle (@FBISeattle) March 1, 2022
Channon was taken into custody on June 11, 2020, following an investigation by the Seattle Police Department and federal agents from the FBI and ATF. She pleaded guilty to arson last September, the Post reported.
“It should be clear that lawful protests do not include the use of violent actions such as breaking store windows and committing theft and arson,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson.
U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said her actions did “tremendous damage to Black Lives Matter in Seattle.”
Channon will be subject to three years of supervised release following her time in prison and is responsible for restitution.