Former Seattle Resident Arrested for Use of ‘Molotov Cocktail’ at May Day 2016 Protest
Defendant Allegedly made Explosive Devices and Threw them at Police causing Injury
A former Seattle resident was arrested in Wisconsin this morning in connection with an attack on Seattle Police at the May Day protest in 2016, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. WIL CASEY FLOYD, 32, will appear in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this afternoon. FLOYD was identified in a lengthy investigation as the member of the so-called ‘Black Bloc’ of protestors who threw unlit incendiary devices at police. FLOYD is charged by criminal complaint with unlawful possession of a destructive device -- a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison.
“This case demonstrates our commitment to protecting our cherished First Amendment rights while holding those who abuse those rights to account,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “I join city leaders in emphasizing that violence at May Day protests will not be tolerated, and commend Seattle Police and FBI’s dogged pursuit of this defendant who threw a Molotov cocktail at an SPD officer at last year’s May Day protests. His so-called “black bloc” disguise was useless in his effort to evade responsibility for his actions.”
“The FBI and Seattle Police Department worked tirelessly to uncover the faces under the black masks who chose to turn a peaceful protest into a violent confrontation,” said Special Agent in Charge Jay S. Tabb, Jr. “Our priority is keeping the people of this city safe, and we hope this arrest and prosecution will deter those who think they can stay anonymous while causing injury and destruction on the streets of Seattle.”
“The actions of the accused put peaceful demonstrators and police officers at extreme risk. In this case and similar cases, we will continue to work relentlessly with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring suspects to justice. I commend the exceptional work of our SPD detectives and our federal partners,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, on the evening of May 1, 2016, one of the Molotov cocktails thrown at police shattered at the feet of an officer and ignited his trousers when a flash-bang grenade went off. The officer suffered burns to his leg. Law enforcement gathered a variety of evidence at the scene on 4th Avenue South and South Seattle Boulevard, including other remains of bottles and a satchel with one unexploded incendiary device. The devices were all the same in construction: beer bottles with flammable liquid and a home-made stopper and cotton cloth. Law enforcement reviewed a variety of videos from the scene and ultimately identified FLOYD as a suspect. Law enforcement obtained a court authorized search warrant to collect evidence to determine whether FLOYD was linked to the satchel and the incendiary devices. Just last week law enforcement tracked FLOYD to a flight from San Diego, California to Wisconsin with a change of planes in Denver. Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force intercepted FLOYD as he changed planes. FLOYD agreed to speak with investigators. FLOYD was arrested without incident this morning at his mother’s home in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Unlawful possession of destructive devices is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. This is the maximum penalty allowed by law. The actual sentence imposed in any case will reflect the specific facts of the crime, including the impact on any victims and the defendant.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Seattle Police Department, both through its membership on the JTTF and with additional investigative groups. Today’s arrest was made with assistance from the FBI’s Milwaukee Field Office and the Elkhart Lake Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg in consultation with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.