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Press Release

Rochester Man Who Pleaded Guilty To Rioting Going To Prison For Burning A Mobile Office Trailer During Civil Unrest

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Javon Hardy, 25, of Rochester, NY, who pleaded guilty to rioting, was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa. Hardy was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $14,504. 

“Javon Hardy is one of 16 defendants charged in connection with violent protests that occurred in Rochester and Buffalo during a period of civil unrest in 2020, and the first to be sentenced to prison,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “While my Office will zealously protect every individual’s right to free speech, we will also zealously protect public safety by holding law breakers accountable for their criminal conduct.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas E. Gregory, who handled the case, stated that on May 30, 2020, in the City of Rochester, the defendant, along with numerous other individuals, participated in a public protest near the Public Safety Building located at 185 Exchange Street.  At various times during the protest, the gathering turned violent, resulting in significant property damage and looting. 

During the course of his rioting, Hardy approached a mobile office trailer located at the corner of Court Street and Exchange Boulevard.  After walking up the stairs to the trailer, the defendant reached through a broken window and lit an object inside the trailer which started the fire. Hardy exclaimed “Let that (expletive) burn,” and “If it’s not on fire, I didn’t do my job.” The burning of the trailer and defendant’s statements were captured on Facebook Live, which streamed the burning of the trailer on the internet. The mobile office trailer was completely destroyed by fire.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito, New York Field Division; the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan; the Gates Police Department, under the direction of Chief James VanBrederode; the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Todd Baxter; the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Barry Chase; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney Sandra Doorley; the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team; and the Rochester Fire Department, under the direction of Fire Chief Willie Jackson.

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Updated March 19, 2021