BOSTON – A Boston man has agreed to plead guilty to assaulting officers with a firearm during the civil disorder in Boston early in the morning of June 1, 2020.
John Boampong, 37, has agreed to plead guilty to one count each of interfering with a law enforcement officer during the commission of a civil disorder, receipt of a firearm by a person under indictment for a felony offense, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees. Boampong was charged by criminal complaint on June 30, 2020 and has been detained since his arrest on June 1.
According to the terms of the plea agreement, Boampong will be sentenced to a term of 42 to 63 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release.
“We’ve seen protests time and again over the past year. While protesting is a constitutionally protected right, endangering the lives of law enforcement and the public is a crime,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “Whether that takes place in the streets of Boston or our nation’s capital, you can be assured that federal law enforcement will investigate those who engage in violence and destruction and hold them to account.”
“John Boampong incited panic downtown after he fired 11 rounds in the direction of police officers and civilians, with a firearm he was not allowed to carry. His appalling actions put everyone—including officers who were there to ensure public safety—in danger,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “This case should serve as a reminder that the FBI and our law enforcement partners will bring all of our investigative resources to bear on those who choose to instigate violence under the guise of peaceful protests.”
“With an illegal firearm, John Boampong shot in the direction of my police officers while thousands of people were expressing their First Amendment rights on June 1, 2020,” said Police Commissioner William G. Gross. “I hope today’s guilty plea will remind people that the Boston Police Department will continue to work with our partners in the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the United States Attorney’s Office to send a clear message that committing violent crime in our city, against our residents, and my officers, will not be tolerated.”
“The peaceful protests of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black and brown people were, unfortunately, marred by the dangerous and criminal acts of a small number of individuals,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins. “John Boampong was one of those individuals who put the lives of protesters and police in danger. Violence will not be tolerated in our communities. I’m grateful to have the partnership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in efforts to hold individuals accountable for acts of violence while ensuring the ability of protesters to assert their First Amendment rights and speak out against injustice.”
According to court documents, on the evening of May 31, 2020 and continuing through the morning of June 1, 2020, what began as a peaceful demonstration in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood devolved into widespread acts of violence, vandalism, looting and destruction of police property, including the burning of at least one police vehicle on Tremont Street. Some protestors threw rocks, bricks and commercially-available explosives, such as M-80s, at police officers. Numerous police officers were injured.
On June 1, 2020 at approximately 3:00 am, Boampong was driving his car near the Arlington Street and Boylston Street intersection in front of a store that had been victimized by looting that evening. Police officers instructed Boampong and his passengers to leave the area. The occupants of Boampong’s car initially became verbally combative towards the officers and failed to leave the area as instructed. When Boampong reversed the car, officers told him to stop, as officers and another vehicle were in the way. However, Boampong continued driving in reverse and then drove away. Shortly thereafter, he returned to the area, parked on Providence Street, and shot at least 11 times toward officers, including a deputized federal officer. The officers took cover by bracing or ducking behind cars and other objects. Bullets broke through the windows of two apartments above ground level in a building behind some of the officers.
When officers eventually stopped Boampong’s car, they saw a Sig Sauer P230 9mm firearm lying on the floor of the front passenger-side floor mat, and a black holster underneath the driver’s seat, where Boampong had been sitting. The firearm was later examined and found to have Boampong’s fingerprint on it.
At the time, Boampong was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition because he faced pending state charges carrying potential sentences exceeding one year.
The charge of assaulting federal officers provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charges of interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder and being a prohibited person in receipt of a firearm or ammunition provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Lelling, FBI Boston SAC Bonavolonta, Boston Police Commissioner Gross and Suffolk County District Attorney Rollins made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Dawley of Lelling’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott L. Garland, Deputy Chief of Lelling’s National Security Unit, are prosecuting the case.