TRENTON, N.J. – A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for attempting to interfere with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder when he attempted to set fire to a police vehicle during a riot in Trenton, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Justin D. Spry, 22, of South Plainfield, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to an information charging him with one count of attempting to obstruct, impede, or interfere with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder affecting commerce. Judge Martinotti imposed the sentence by videoconference today.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On May 31, 2020, large-scale protests were held throughout the United States, including in Trenton, in response to the death of George Floyd. Although the May 31st protest in Trenton was peaceful earlier in the day, violence erupted later. A group of individuals proceeded down East State Street in downtown Trenton and began to riot, smashing store fronts, looting stores, and attacking multiple marked Trenton Police Department vehicles parked on the 100 Block of East State Street.
A Trenton street camera and other video footage taken by an individual present on the street captured Kadeem Dockery light an explosive device and throw it through the open front driver’s side window of a Trenton Police Department vehicle. Dockery then removed his shirt and handed it to Killian Melecio, who then attempted to stuff the shirt in the gas tank of the police vehicle and ignite it. Melecio was then assisted by Spry in attempting to set fire to the police vehicle. Law enforcement officers on scene arrested Spry, but Melecio and Dockery fled. Law enforcement later identified Melecio and Dockery through analysis of street camera and other video footage. They were arrested on Aug. 5, 2020.
Melecio pleaded guilty on Jan. 26, 2021, to his role and was sentenced June 28, 2021, to 28 months in prison. Dockery pleaded guilty on May 19, 2021, to his role and is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 26, 2021.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Martinotti sentenced Spry to three years of supervised release.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI and task force officers of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. She also thanked officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Acting Police Director Steve Wilson; troopers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan; and officers of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, under the direction of Acting Commissioner Victoria L. Kuhn, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander E. Ramey and Michelle S. Gasparian of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
Defense counsel: Benjamin J. West Esq., Trenton