Rochester BLM protester gets year in prison for setting fire during peaceful protest

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It was a peaceful protest held in the city of Rochester on May 30th of 2020, but it somehow ended with cars being overturned and set on fire. Javon Hardy was at the riot and he decided to set a mobile office trailer on fire, now he’s going to prison.

Hardy made one fatal mistake. He Facebook lived himself as he burned that trailer.

Hardy is the first of many rioters arrested that night who will soon be joining him in prison.

Hardy, 25, of Rochester, pleaded guilty to rioting this week.


“Javon Hardy is one of 16 defendants charged in connection with violent protests that occurred in Rochester and Buffalo during a period of civil unrest in 2020, and the first to be sentenced to prison,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “While my Office will zealously protect every individual’s right to free speech, we will also zealously protect public safety by holding law breakers accountable for their criminal conduct.”

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas E. Gregory, who handled the case, stated that on May 30, 2020, in the City of Rochester, the defendant, along with numerous other individuals, participated in a public protest near the Public Safety Building located at 185 Exchange Street.  At various times during the protest, the gathering turned violent, resulting in significant property damage and looting. 

During the course of his rioting, Hardy approached a mobile office trailer located at the corner of Court Street and Exchange Boulevard.  After walking up the stairs to the trailer, the defendant reached through a broken window and lit an object inside the trailer which started the fire. Hardy exclaimed “Let that (expletive) burn,” and “If it’s not on fire, I didn’t do my job.” The burning of the trailer and the defendant’s statements were captured on Facebook Live, which streamed the burning of the trailer on the internet. The mobile office trailer was completely destroyed by fire.

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