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Tacoma woman sentenced to five years in prison for arson during 2020 protests

Videos captured Margaret Channon setting fire to multiple police vehicles amid racial justice protests in May 2020.

SEATTLE — Editor’s note: The video above originally aired in June 2020 after Margaret Channon was arrested for setting five police vehicles on fire during a protest in downtown Seattle.

A 26-year-old Tacoma woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for burning five Seattle police vehicles during racial justice protests in May 2020, U.S. District Court Attorney Nick Brown announced Tuesday. 

Margaret Channon pleaded guilty in September to torching five police vehicles parked around Sixth Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle amid protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Channon was seen on video using fire and aerosol cans to set five Seattle police vehicles on fire, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

“The right to protest, gather, and call out injustices is one of the dearest and most important rights we enjoy in the United States,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a statement. “Indeed, our democracy depends on both exercising and protecting these rights. But Ms. Channon’s conduct was itself an attack on democracy. She used the cover of lawful protests to carry out dangerous and destructive acts, risking the safety of everyone around her and undermining the important messages voiced by others.”

Channon was identified in the videos by her clothing and tattoos according to police. In addition to arson, Channon admitted to smashing the window at a Verizon store and entering a sandwich shop to destroy an electronic cash register. 

Channon will be responsible for restitution under the terms of her plea agreement and will be on three years of supervised release once her prison term concludes.

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