Rioter Who Tried to Set Fire to City Hall During Buffalo Protests Charged

BUFFALO, NY – Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 21-year-old Courtland M. Renford of Buffalo has been virtually arraigned before Erie County Court Judge Sheila A. DiTullio on an indictment charging him with one count of Arson in the Third Degree, a Class “C” felony, and one count of Burglary in the Third Degree, a Class “D” felony.

It is alleged that on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at approximately 11:32 p.m., the defendant intentionally threw a cardboard box that was on fire through a first-floor window of Buffalo City Hall, causing damage to the walls and the floor. The incident occurred during a protest in Niagara Square. The fire was quickly extinguished by Buffalo firefighters.

It is further alleged that earlier that evening, at approximately 10:11 p.m., the defendant and other unknown individuals broke a glass door to gain entry of a convenience store on Elmwood Avenue near Summer Street in the City of Buffalo. The defendant is accused of unlawfully entering the building and stealing a beverage and multiple packs of cigarettes.

Renford is scheduled to return on November 4, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. for a telephone pre-trial conference.

He has been held in federal custody on a pending matter before the U.S. District Court. Judge DiTullio remanded the defendant on the state charges to allow him to accrue jail credit.

If convicted on all charges, Renford faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department and Buffalo Fire Department for their work on the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys James M. Marra and Lauren M. Creighton of DA’s Felony Trials.

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.