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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Minnesota

For Immediate Release

Thursday, November 19, 2020
Erica H. MacDonald
, United States Attorney

Staples Man Pleads Guilty to Minneapolis Police Third Precinct Arson

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the guilty plea of BRYCE MICHAEL WILLIAMS, 26, to one count of conspiracy to commit arson at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct. WILLIAMS, who was initially charged via criminal complaint on June 16, 2020, and indicted on August 25, 2020, entered his guilty plea today before Judge Patrick J. Schiltz in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed with the court, on the night of May 28, 2020, WILLIAMS went to the Third Precinct where a crowd of hundreds had gathered. At one point, the crowd began shouting, “Burn it down, burn it down.” Soon after, a fence that was designed to keep trespassers out of the Third Precinct building was torn down. WILLIAMS, along with other co-conspirators, breached the fence and entered the Third Precinct building.

Surveillance video footage from the Third Precinct showed WILLIAMS, wearing a mask, a baseball cap, and a hooded sweatshirt, standing near the entrance of the Third Precinct holding a Molotov cocktail while other co-conspirators lit the wick. The Molotov cocktail was taken into the Third Precinct by a co-conspirator and was used to start a fire. WILLIAMS later threw a box on an existing fire located just outside the Third Precinct entrance.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted jointly by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Staples Police Department, the Todd County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force, and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harry M. Jacobs and David P. Steinkamp.

Defendant Information:

BRYCE MICHAEL WILLIAMS, 26
Staples, Minn.
Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit arson, 1 count

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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: 612-664-5600

St. Paul Field Division