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Alaska man sentenced to 20 months in prison for arson conspiracy for August 2020 fire at Seattle Police East Precinct

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 Joined with others burning trash and blocking exits

Seattle –  A 20-year-old Alaska man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 20 months in prison for conspiracy to commit arson in connection with the fire he set Monday, August 24, 2020, at the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.  Desmond David-Pitts was arrested shortly after the fire.  At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour noted the serious danger the fire posed to Seattle Police Officers who could have been trapped inside the building.

“A handful of people bent on destruction, by committing arson and threatening the safety of our community, also drowned out the important message of those who peacefully protest injustice,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.  “This defendant joined with others to put Seattle Police Officers at risk.  It is wholly appropriate that he spend time in prison as a consequence of his criminal acts.”

According to records filed in the case, David-Pitts had arrived in Seattle from Alaska just three days before the arson.  After marching with the group of protestors in downtown Seattle, David-Pitts is seen on surveillance video piling up trash against the sally-port door at the Seattle Police East Precinct.  Over an eleven-minute period, the surveillance video captures David-Pitts not only piling up the trash, but repeatedly lighting it on fire and feeding the flames with more trash.  While David-Pitts was lighting the fire, other people who appeared on the surveillance were attempting to use crowbars and cement-like materials to try to disable the door next to the sally-port to prevent officers from exiting the building.  At various times, David-Pitts was communicating with the black-clad individuals who were attempting to disable the door and light other fires around the building.  Despite efforts to disable the door, officers were able to get outside and extinguish the flames.  David-Pitts was seen on surveillance working with the others to cut through a chain-link fence that was a barrier around the building.  All the fires were extinguished by Seattle Police Officers and members of the Seattle Fire Department.

David-Pitts was identified less than an hour later in the crowd outside the precinct because of the distinctive pink camouflage trousers he was wearing.  He was arrested without incident.

David-Pitts has agreed to pay restitution to the Seattle Police Department for damage to the building. 

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Seattle Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.


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