Edisto man who set fire to police cars during May riots sentenced to federal prison

State - Regional

Kelsey Donnel Jackson was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to maliciously damaging a police vehicle by means of fire during violent and destructive riots in downtown Charleston on May 30, 2020. (Charleston County Detention Center booking photo)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, M. Rhett Dehart, on Monday announced the sentencing of Kelsey Donnel Jackson, 28, of Edisto Island for his actions during the May 30, 2020 riots in Downtown Charleston.

Jackson was sentenced to two years in federal prison followed by 36 months supervised release for “maliciously damaging a police vehicle by means of fire” during the riots.

Evidence showed that during the riots, “Jackson traveled throughout the city, vandalizing businesses and public property [and] assaulting two civilians.”

Jackson also livestreamed a video of himself on Facebook while on his way to the riots. In the video, he “held a handgun, racked the slide on the handgun, and pointed the handgun at the screen of his phone.” He also made multiple anti-police comments, such as “f— the police,” “let a cop run up and get done up,” and “we’re liable to f— the police up right now.”

At one point when Jackson appeared to think he was going to get pulled over by a police officer, he said “you about to get hit.”

Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said that “The Charleston Police Department once again applauds the successful resolution of this criminal case and the ongoing support displayed by the United States Attorney’s Office regarding this incident.”

Reynolds continued, saying “while the Charleston Police Department will always support our citizen’s right to peaceful protest, we will never condone violent or destructive acts that endanger our citizens or damage property.  More work remains to be accomplished as we continue investigating and prosecuting those violent offenders responsible for the significant destruction of property, assault on our citizens and attack on our officers.  We will not rest until justice is accomplished for all impacted by those criminal acts.”

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