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Press Release

Man Sentenced to 7 Years for Arson During June 2020 Civil Unrest in Madison

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

MADISON, WIS. – A Madison, Wisconsin man pleaded guilty and was sentenced today on a federal charge of arson during the civil unrest in Madison in June 2020.  Marquon Clark, 26, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson, who imposed a sentence of 7 years in federal prison. 

On June 24, 2020, Clark threw projectiles through windows of the City-County Building on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Madison and then threw a lit roll of paper towels through the broken windows.  The building, which houses city and county government offices, was occupied by over 250 people at the time, including 182 adults and juveniles being held in the jail.  Clark’s actions led to a fire in the City-County Building that resulted in approximately $105,000 in damages and clean-up costs. 

“Legitimate protest is a central Constitutional right and American value.  Arson is simply not part of any legitimate protest.  This crime endangered the lives of everyone in the City-County building including the minors in juvenile detention,” said Timothy M. O’Shea, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.  “We will work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who engage in such conduct without regard for the potentially deadly consequences.”

“Arson is inherently dangerous, and we simply cannot allow it in our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Terry Henderson, of the St. Paul Field Division. “I hope this sentencing acts as a significant deterrent for others who may consider committing this heinous crime.  We are thankful that Clark’s criminal actions did not cost anyone their life and that justice can be served in this case.”

In imposing the sentence, Judge Peterson noted that Clark’s crime was extremely dangerous and created a serious risk of harm to people inside the City-County Building.  Judge Peterson also noted that a lengthy prison sentence was warranted in light of Clark’s extensive criminal history, which includes two violent crimes.  Judge Peterson also ordered Clark to pay restitution in the full amount of damages and clean-up costs at the City-County Building.

The charge against Clark was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Dane County Sheriff’s Office; Madison Police Department; and the Madison Fire Investigation Team.

Updated June 2, 2021

Violent Crime