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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Rioter Sentenced to Federal Prison for Torching Providence Police Cruiser

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Cranston, RI, man who admitted to torching a Providence Police cruiser when he sprayed a flammable liquid into the cruiser during a June 2020 riot in downtown Providence, fueling and intensifying a fire that ultimately destroyed the vehicle, was sentenced today to three years in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.

Nicholas L. Scaglione, 32, previously admitted to a federal judge that he climbed atop the unoccupied police cruiser; threw an object at the vehicle; joined with others in an unsuccessful attempt to flip the vehicle onto its side; and ultimately sprayed a flammable liquid into the vehicle, intensifying a small fire already burning. The fire consumed the vehicle, rendering it unrecognizable.

Scaglione pleaded guilty on April 14, 2022, to conspiracy to commit arson.

“This defendant chose to quite literally fan the flames of a riot,” said U.S. Attorney Cunha. “Incinerating a police car, he needlessly endangered the lives of law enforcement and the public, and dishonored the proud legacy of Americans who have worked for change through peaceful means. Arson is not advocacy. Today’s sentence should make it abundantly clear that this type of lawless conduct cannot, and will not, be tolerated.” 

“Nicholas Scaglione’s reckless and violent behavior deprived others of their right to peacefully protest, contributed to chaos, inspired lawlessness, and put the safety of police officers and the public in danger,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “Today’s sentence makes it crystal clear to others that we have zero tolerance for anyone committing violence in our communities, especially when that violence is directed towards police.”

Providence Police Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr., added, “The Providence Police Department is appreciative of the collaboration of our law enforcement partners in holding this defendant accountable for his actions.”

According to court documents, in a text message, Scaglione took responsibility for what he did and defiantly professed that he would do it again: “But that police cruiser that went up in flames last night can be replaced... I was pissed. I’ve been pissed. That was pent up years of rage and frustration with the way I’ve seen and been treated by police. That cop car can be replaced. Peoples lives cannot... Then I go out fighting and standing up for [sh*t] I believe in. Cuz I know for a fact if it was you or anyone else I was close to I’d burn the whole police force down and not even blink.”

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy sentenced Scaglione to 36 months in federal prison to be followed by two years of federal supervised release. Scaglione was ordered to pay restitution to the Providence Police Department in the amount of $52,166.80.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul F. Daly, Jr. The matter was investigated by the Providence FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Providence Police Department, and Rhode Island State Police.

United States Attorney Cunha thanks the Rhode Island State Police for their assistance in the investigation of this matter.



Violent Crime
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
Updated July 14, 2022