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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 16, 2021

Final Defendant Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges Related to May 2020 Civil Unrest in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY – Christopher Isidro Rojas, 29, of Salt Lake City, pleaded guilty to one felony count of civil disorder, charged in a felony information, for his role in the burning of a Salt Lake City Police Department patrol car during the civil unrest which occurred in Salt Lake City on May 30, 2020.

In the plea agreement, Rojas admitted that, on May 30, 2020, he was protesting the killing of George Floyd when protesters turned violent and overturned a Salt Lake City Police Department patrol car. Rojas admitted that he participated in the burning of the overturned patrol car with the intent and purpose of interfering with law enforcement officers and that he used a cigarette lighter to ignite a piece of cloth that a co-defendant threw into the interior of the overturned patrol car.

During a previous hearing, prosecutors alleged that Rojas helped others rip a bumper from the overturned police car and then used a cigarette lighter to ignite a large piece of white cloth that was thrown into the police car by a co-defendant. Later that same afternoon, prosecutors alleged that Rojas was captured on video appearing to celebrate and bragging to others that he “put the cop car on fire.”

Rojas remains on home confinement until the date of his sentencing which is currently set for November 24, 2021. Rojas faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years in prison, a payment of $2,500.000 in agreed upon restitution, and a term of supervised release of three years.

Co-defendant Lateesha Richards has previously been sentenced to 20 months in federal prison along with co-defendant Jackson Patton, who has been sentenced to 24 months federal prison, for their respective roles in the burning of the patrol car. Co-defendants Latroi Devon Newbins and Larry Raynold Williams Jr. have entered pleas of guilty and now await sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. Special Agents from the ATF and the FBI, and detectives from the Salt Lake City Police Department, conducted the investigation.

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Updated September 16, 2021