Three charged in flipping and torching of Salt Lake City police car

Prosecutors charged three people Wednesday in connection with flipping and torching a Salt Lake City police car during Saturday’s protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Jackson Stuart Tamowski Patton, 26, and Latroi Devons Newbins, 28, are charged with arson in federal court in Salt Lake City. The arson charges carry up to 20 years in prison and a minimum sentence of five years.

The Salt Lake County district attorney’s office charged Connor Peebles, 21, with a count of criminal mischief and a count of rioting. The criminal mischief count, a first-degree felony, includes a gang enhancement due to the number of participants in the car flipping and is punishable by up to life in prison. The riot count is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Peebles, who’s listed in charging documents as a resident of Belmont, Mich., surrendered himself Sunday after Salt Lake City police asked for the public’s help in finding those who destroyed the car. Court documents accuse Peebles only of flipping the vehicle.

Patton, who is listed as living in the Salt Lake City area, was arrested by police during largely peaceful protests Tuesday night, according to a news release from the U.S. district attorney’s office. The criminal complaint says officers recognized Patton’s tattoos as the same ones seen on the suspect in video from Saturday.

Newbins, of West Valley City, was identified by federal agents from video footage of the protest, including a FOX 13 clip in which he gives reporters his name, according to court documents.

On Wednesday, Patton and Newbins were in the Salt Lake County jail. Patton’s bond is listed as $25,000 while Newbins has not been issued a bond. Prosecutors have asked a judge to keep Patton in jail. The government’s motion calls him a flight risk who is charged with a violent crime.

Peebles is in the jail on $50,000 bond.

“On Saturday, whatever laudable messages there may have been embedded in the goals of the protest, they were lost,” U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber said Wednesday in a televised news conference in front of Salt Lake City’s Public Safety Building. “Extremist outlaws stripped that protest event of credibility and led it into anarchy.”

Jess Anderson, the commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety, said graffiti and vandalism at the state Capitol have required $40,000 worth of cleanup and repair thus far. No estimates have been given for damage downtown.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown noted the cracked windows in the Public Safety Building and pointed toward the spot where the patrol car burned to show the kind of destruction committed in the heart of downtown.

“The image of a car being turned over and torched on the streets of Salt Lake City was appalling,” Brown said. “We are better than that.”

The federal complaint alleges that after rioters overturned a Salt Lake City patrol car during the Saturday protests near City Hall, the car was ignited. According to the complaint, video shows Patton tossing a combustible substance onto the flames, further fueling the fire. The blaze destroyed the car. Court documents do not say the value of the vehicle and its contents; they just put it at “more than $5,000.”