Citizens identified Wesley Somers in video and pictures from his tattoos.
Wesley Somers, 26, of Henderson, TN, received a sentence of five years in federal prison for attempting to burn down Nashville City Hall, known as the Metro Courthouse, in May 2020 during a George Floyd riot.
U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger handed down the sentence plus “three years of supervised release.”
Somers faced charges of felony arson, vandalism, and disorderly conduct for setting fire to the courthouse.
U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee said: “On May 30, 2020, scores of local, state and federal law enforcement officers stood ready to protect the Constitutional right of every citizen to engage in peaceful protests. Unfortunately, Somers and others interfered with a lawful assembly and resorted to violence and destructive behavior, which resulted in significant property damage and placed many at risk of harm. We will always defend the right of every individual to exercise their First Amendment liberties but will not tolerate the actions of those who choose to exploit peaceful protest by resorting to violence and intimidation.”
A bunch of people gathered around the courthouse on May 30th. People on the internet and news websites posted pictures and videos of these people “smashing the windows of the premises and spraying graffiti on the Courthouse facade.”
The media also showed the interior of the Courthouse on fire: “One video depicted Somers lighting a sign on fire and placing it through the window of the Courthouse. Somers then sprayed an accelerant into the fire which quickly caused the fire inside the Courthouse to spread.”
Tips from citizens helped the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department – Specialized Investigation Division identified Somers. His tattoos “WILD CHILD” and “HARD 2 Love” helped citizens point him out to the authorities.
WKRN reported Somers claimed he became a celebrity behind bars. Inmates supposedly call him “Protest.”
Somers has a criminal record with “convictions for domestic assault and attempted child neglect.”
UPDATE: Wesley Somers was sentenced today to 5 years in federal prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release for setting fire to Nashville's Historic Courthouse following protests on 5/30/20. The @USAO_MDTN adopted the case on 6/3/20.
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 23, 2022
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