Cranston man admits burning Providence cop car during peaceful George Floyd protests

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – A Cranston man admitted to a federal court judge today that he sprayed a flammable liquid into a Providence Police Department cruiser causing a fire to intensify and destroy the vehicle moments after he and others unsuccessfully attempted to flip-over the cruiser during the June 2020 riots in downtown Providence.

Nicholas L. Scaglione, 31, admitted to the court that he climbed on top of the unoccupied marked Providence Police cruiser, threw an object at the vehicle, joined with others in an unsuccessful attempt to flip it onto its side, and then ultimately sprayed a flammable liquid into the cruiser.

Scaglione admitted that after another individual had poured an accelerant into the passenger side of the vehicle and applied a flame to the accelerant with only minimal success in starting a fire, Scaglione then sprayed a flammable liquid accelerant into the passenger compartment. Soon after, flames engulfed and destroyed the vehicle, rendering it unrecognizable.

According to information presented to the court, the FBI, Rhode Island State Police, and Providence Police, used a variety of investigative methods to identify Scaglione and determine the specifics of his crime,, including a review of video taken at the scene, witness statements, and cellphone records including text messages from Scaglione admitting that he burned the police cruiser. Scaglione said he did so because of anger towards law enforcement, and that he was willing to do it again.

Appearing today before U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy, Scaglione pleaded guilty to malicious attempt to damage or destroy a vehicle, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police Colonel James M. Manni, and Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr.

Scaglione is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16, 2021.

Attempted malicious destruction of a vehicle by fire is punishable by a statutory penalty of up to twenty years in federal prison, with a mandatory minimum term of five years of imprisonment, and a term of supervised release of three years.

Department of Justice News Release Source: DOJ