Man Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison for Throwing Incendiary Device at Police in Chicago Suburb

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

CHICAGO — A man has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for throwing an incendiary device at police officers in Naperville, Ill., during a period of civil unrest in June 2020.

CHRISTIAN REA, 21, of Aurora, Ill., pleaded guilty earlier last year to a federal charge of obstructing law enforcement during the commission of civil disorder.  U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin on Tuesday imposed the one-year prison sentence and ordered Rea to pay $13,585.66 in restitution to the city of Naperville.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Naperville Police Department and Aurora Police Department. 

“By intentionally throwing the firework at police officers, the defendant demonstrated a lack of respect for the law,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “His actions could have sparked the crowd to engage in the very unlawful conduct the officers were there to prevent.”

The incident occurred in downtown Naperville on the evening of June 1, 2020.  The officers responded to civil disorder in the business district involving dozens of individuals causing damage to property. 

Rea admitted in a plea agreement that he threw a lit explosive or incendiary device in the proximity of a line of uniformed officers who were standing next to a police vehicle.  As a result of the explosion, multiple officers suffered injuries, including repeated headaches, ringing in the ears, and vision loss.

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