Four men – including a social studies teacher who is also a prominent outspoken activist – were named Thursday in a federal indictment related to unrest in Philadelphia days after the police killing of George Floyd.
Anthony David Ale Smith, 29, and Khalif Miller, 25, both of Philadelphia, and Atlantic City, N.J., resident Carlos Matchett face two arson counts related to the setting of a Philadelphia police vehicle on fire, the Justice Department said.
In a separate case, Ayoub Tabri, 24, of Arlington, Va., is charged with setting a Pennsylvania State Police SUV ablaze. Both incidents occurred on May 30. All four men are also charged with obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder. They each face a minimum of seven years in prison and $750,000 in fines.
In a statement, William McSwain, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said his office supports peaceful protests and the protection of First Amendment freedoms.
“We take that responsibility very seriously. But violence is not speech,” he said. “There is no right to riot, loot, rob, destroy or commit arson. If you engage in violent civil unrest and commit a federal crime in this district, we will come after you as hard as we can because residents deserve safe and secure neighborhoods, not mayhem.” Read more…