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Minnesota man sentenced to 8 years for role in unrest over rumored police shooting

Victor Devon Edwards joined in looting and arson during unrest in Minneapolis that followed false rumors of a police shooting, officials said.
Unrest in Minneapolis after man commits suicide
Police clear and secure Saks Off 5th in downtown Minneapolis on Aug. 26, 2020.Carlos Gonzalez / Star Tribune via Getty Images file

A man who looted and damaged stores in unrest that followed false rumors of a police shooting in Minneapolis last year was sentenced to more than eight years in prison, federal prosecutors said.

Victor Devon Edwards, 32, of St. Paul, was convicted by a jury of one count of riot and one count of arson in August and was sentenced Wednesday to 100 months in prison.

Officials said Edwards went to Minneapolis on Aug. 26, 2020, amid unrest after a Black homicide suspect fatally shot himself as officers approached him. Some people believed it had been a police shooting.

It occurred three months after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck. Floyd’s death sparked outrage and protests against police brutality across the country.

Edwards joined in looting stores, including a Saks Off Fifth, and helped fuel a fire at Target headquarters that caused more than $1 million in damage, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota said.

Edwards’ attorney argued in court documents before sentencing that while the rumors of the man's fatal shooting by police proved to be false, social media fueled the crowd’s anger and a mob mentality that led to more than 70 businesses’ being damaged.

“Mr. Edwards was swept up in that furor,” his attorney, Sarah R. Weinman, wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Weinman did not immediately reply to a request for comment Thursday evening.

Edwards was also ordered to pay over $940,000 in restitution. Weinman wrote that the restitution amounts to “a financial life sentence.”