PORTLAND, Ore. — An Indianapolis man received a 10-year sentence for his role in protests that took a violent turn in Portland, Oregon in 2020.
Malik Fard Muhammad, 25, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and three years’ supervised release after the Oregon district of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said he repeatedly and intentionally jeopardized the lives of police officers, destroyed public property, and encouraged others to commit violence during the protests.
Court documents showed Muhammad traveled to Portland from Indianapolis “in late summer” with his girlfriend to be part of protests that had been going for months following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
During those protests, rioters at times threw commercial grade fireworks, Molotov cocktails, and bottles at police.
Muhammad pleaded guilty to “seriously burning a demonstrator by throwing a Molotov cocktail and providing baseball bats to members of the crowd.”
Investigators say they found evidence on Muhammad’s cell phone of him bragging about providing the bats. They also saw him on a Goodwill surveillance video buying a baseball bat and growlers that were later recovered at the scene of the protests.
During two separate nights in September, Muhammad used the growlers as part of Molotov cocktails thrown at police. One officer’s leg caught on fire after one of the flaming bottles exploded into a fireball when it was thrown at the Multnomah County Justice Center on September 23, 2020.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Muhammad was seen throwing the Molotov cocktail in several videos obtained by police. A DNA analysis also linked to him a Molotov cocktail thrown during the other September protest.
Muhammad was arrested on October 11, 2020, after Portland police reportedly saw him smashing windows of businesses with a metal baton.
Police found a loaded handgun magazine in his pocket. A loaded handgun matching the magazine was found discarded near where he was arrested.
“Malik Fard Muhammad intentionally planned and committed acts of violence that threatened other protestors, members of the public, and law enforcement officers. This type of violence has no place in our community,” said FBI Portland Special Agent in Charge Kieran Ramsey.
“He [Muhammad] came from out-of-state to bring violence to our community. This sentence should send a clear message to those who want to engage in violence that it will not be tolerated, and ATF will investigate these acts whenever they occur,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson.
As part of his sentencing, Muhammad forfeited or abandoned his interest in a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a second rifle, a pistol, assorted ammunition, and all seized Molotov cocktail components and ingredients.
The federal sentence will run concurrently with a 10-year sentence recently imposed in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Muhmmad will serve his sentence in an Oregon state prison.