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Hill AFB airman released from jail pending trial in Salt Lake police car arson

By Mark Shenefelt standard-Examiner - | Sep 10, 2020
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The U.S. Attorney's Office provided this photo of a man wearing a gas mask during civil rights protests in Salt Lake City on May 30, 2020. Prosecutors allege the mask was worn by Hill Air Force Base airman first class Larry Raynold Williams Jr. Williams is charged with several other people in the arson destruction of a Salt Lake City police car during protests over George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody five days earlier.

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A Hill Air Force Base airman, Larry Raynold Williams Jr., 22, appeared in federal court Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, on an arson charge. Federal prosecutors allege Williams and four other people participated in the destruction of a Salt Lake City police car during civil rights rioting May 30.

A Hill Air Force Base airman has been released from jail pending trial on a federal arson charge in the destruction of a police car during Salt Lake City rioting May 30.

No trial date has been set for Larry Raynold Williams Jr., 22, who was arrested by FBI agents at his West Haven home Aug. 20.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion in U.S. District Court arguing that Williams is a danger to the community and should be held until trial.

But after a detention hearing, Magistrate Judge Jared Bennett issued an order Aug. 24 that Williams be released from jail pending trial.

Williams must report regularly to the pretrial court services office and not leave Utah, the order said.

The airman’s status with the Air Force and Hill was not known. Efforts to contact the Hill public affairs office were not immediately successful.

His federal public defense attorney, Scott C. Williams, no relation, has not responded to requests for comment on the case.

Bennett also has granted a request for a protective order to maintain the confidentiality of evidence being shared by prosecutors and the defense during the pretrial discovery process.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the FBI and local police still are investigating the May 30 violence and more people might be charged.

“The information relating to the investigation is sensitive and dissemination of the information would compromise the investigation,” the prosecution request said.

Evidence includes 80,000 video clips, many hours of police continuous body cam footage, and more than 192,000 photographs.

Prosecutors said in an indictment filed before his arrest that Williams and four other people participated in the police car’s destruction in a civil rights protest that turned violent.

Demonstrators in Salt Lake and elsewhere around the country were protesting after the death of Black man George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.

Prosecutors presented video and photos allegedly showing Williams, wearing a military gas mask from Hill, throwing burning fabric into the police cruiser.

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