The summer after George Floyd was murdered was a tumultuous period in US history. Thousands of concerned citizens flooded the streets peacefully to express their outrage over police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. While most of the demonstrations that erupted across the country were peaceful, there were a few bad actors who instigated violence, including 25-year-old white woman Margaret Channon, who has now been convicted of lighting five Seattle police cars on May 30, 2020.

Channon of Tacoma, Washington, traveled to downtown Seattle after the assassination of George Floyd to join the thousands of peaceful protestors who were attempting to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement. Channon was armed with a makeshift flamethrower that she used to torch unoccupied, parked police vehicles after cops unleashed a barrage of tear gas into the swelling crowd. For about twenty-five minutes, Channon ran back and forth between burning police cars to increase the intensity so that policemen’s vehicles would never be utilized again.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg, most protestors were peaceful during her trial. He also informed U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour that Channon was on a mission to produce catastrophe after Floyd’s death, according to the prosecution .

“She wasn’t alone, but Ms. Channon set the tone for what that protest became moving forward,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg stated. “Ms. Channon left downtown Seattle in flames and in billowing smoke.”

Channon was the fifth and final person convicted and sentenced in connection with Seattle-related riots to face federal charges. She also admitted to smashing Verizon shop windows and stealing a cash register at a sandwich shop, in addition to what she did on the police cars.

Channon has since expressed remorse for her misdeeds. She presented the court with a statement through her attorney, who submitted a sentencing memo to the court.

“I apologize to the many workers and activists – who have given decades of their lives to building a countermeasure to police violence – that did not want to see fire,” Channon said. “I had intended to effect positive change, but my attempt was misguided.”

Elizabeth MacGahan, Channon’s mother, also wrote a letter to the court in her defense. She said that Channon comes from a family of civil servants. She added that the pandemic, Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and the recent deaths of both of her grandmothers may have influenced her behavior.

“It’s a very difficult time to be young and sensitive and to suffer losses,” she stated.

Due to excellent pictures taken during the rampage, Channon was identified after the civil unrest. Her tattoo was able to be used to identify her.

“She had the letters’ W-A-I-F’ tattooed on the fingers of her left hand… The letters were oriented such that the bottom of the letters faced towards her fingertips,” the indictment reads.

Channon was sentenced to five years in prison for setting fire to police cars during the May 30, 2020, civil unrest in Seattle, Washington.