Man Who Threw Molotov Cocktail at NYPD Vehicle During George Floyd “Peaceful Protest” Charged with Arson

BRONX, NY – Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, John B. DeVito, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), Dermot Shea, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and Daniel A. Nigro, the Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department (“FDNY”), announced today the arrest of SHAWN JENKINS in connection with his attempted arson of police vehicles in the Bronx, New York.  JENKINS was arrested on October 28, 2020, and will be presented in the Manhattan federal court later today before U.S. Magistrate Ona T. Wang.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss stated:  “Shawn Jenkins allegedly threw a glass bottle containing a lit wick with gas accelerant at an NYPD vehicle in the Bronx.  Jenkins’s alleged actions – causing an adjacent vehicle to be damaged – are as reckless as they are misguided.  There is never an acceptable time or situation to attempt to damage the property of law enforcement professionals who serve to protect the public, and this case is emblematic of our resolve to bring anyone who does so to justice.”

ATF Special Agent-in-Charge John B. DeVito said:  “As alleged, Jenkins brazenly and deliberately fire-bombed a marked NYPD vehicle without regard for human life or property. The New York Arson and Explosives Task Force will be relentless in bringing to justice those who use fire as a weapon in order to ensure a safer community for all New Yorkers.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said:  “Peaceful assembly and speech are protected and valued by the NYPD. But the kind of violence alleged in this case endangers lives and threatens everyone’s constitutional right to peacefully protest and we commend our federal partners for bringing justice for acts society can never tolerate.”

NYFD Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said:  “Arson is a dangerous, potentially deadly act that needlessly puts lives in danger and destroys property. Any act of arson will be vigorously investigated by our Fire Marshals and their partners in law enforcement.  Thanks to the excellent teamwork by our Bureau of Fire Investigation, the NYPD and the ATF, a suspect has been arrested for this senseless crime.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint[1]:

On June 1, 2020, at approximately 11:30 p.m., JENKINS approached two NYPD vehicles located in front of the NYPD 42nd Precinct in the Bronx, New York.  JENKINS threw a glass bottle containing a wick that was lit with a gas accelerant at the NYPD vehicles.  The incendiary device hit the ground short of its intended target and spread a fire, damaging an adjoining vehicle, which is privately owned by an NYPD officer.

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JENKINS, 33, of the Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of attempted arson, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the Strategic Explosive and Arson Response Task Force of the ATF, the NYPD, and the FDNY.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Mitzi Steiner is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.