Apple helps FBI track down man accused of firebombing Seattle police cars

Apple has aided the FBI track down a man accused of firebombing Seattle police cars with Molotov cocktails.

Earlier this month, a 20-year-old Edmonds, Washington, man was charged in U.S. District Court in Seattle with two counts of arson and two counts of unlawful possession of a destructive device for his activities at a protest that turned violent in downtown Seattle, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. Kelly Thomas Jackson was arrested on the morning of September 9th.

Suspect with 'molotov cocktail’ in downtown Seattle
Suspect with ‘Molotov cocktail’ in downtown Seattle
Thomas Brewster for Forbes:

In Seattle, Apple has given the feds vital evidence from one of its iCloud users who was arrested for firebombing cop cars during the George Floyd protests in late May…

The FBI had been tipped off about the identity of a protester police believed had set fire to at least two police patrol vehicles during a protest against police brutality on May 30 following the killing of George Floyd, according to a search warrant reviewed by Forbes. The FBI checked the tip against surveillance feeds, news broadcast footage and social media images, deciding that the lead was worth chasing down. They obtained Verizon records for the suspect, Kelly Jackson, that revealed his location during the protests, what calls he made and the fact that he was using an iPhone 7.

That’s when the FBI called on Apple, asking for the suspect’s iCloud information. A trove of potential evidence was returned by the Cupertino tech giant, including screenshots hosted in Jackson’s photo library, according to the search warrant. One screenshot was of an Instagram post promoting the protest, dubbed the “The Defiant Walk of Resistance Against Injustice.” Then there was a screenshot from with a list of “ingredients” for a Molotov cocktail.

Videos from the iCloud account showed a white male’s hands opening a black bag containing a green glass bottle with a gold cap, filled with liquid, the FBI wrote. And another showed a similar glass bottle being thrown into the open driver door of a cop car, setting it on fire. The individual who threw the bomb then celebrated his achievement in front of the camera, though the face was not visible, according to the FBI. His face was visible in an image taken later that day on the same phone and it appears he’s wearing the same sweatshirt as the person shown setting fire to the police vehicle, the agency added.

Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington:

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office continues to work closely with state, local and federal law enforcement to prosecute those who turn protected speech into violent criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Brian Moran. “Not every criminal act will implicate a federal interest, but where there is federal jurisdiction we will use our tools to hold law-breakers accountable.”

“These individuals are hijacking legitimate First Amendment protected activity. By investigating this violent activity, the messages of peaceful protests have a better chance of being heard,” said Raymond Duda, Special Agent in Charge FBI Seattle.

Arson is punishable by a mandatory minimum five years in prison and up to 20 years in prison. Possession of a destructive device is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), with assistance from the Seattle Police Department, the Edmonds Police Department and the Mountlake Terrace Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.

MacDailyNews Take: Thankfully, Apple was able to help the FBI track down this man accused of firebombing Seattle police cars. If found guilty, prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.


  1. Here is reasonable, unbiased perspective: Criminals George Bush, Richard Cheney, Richard Armitage, John “Torture Memo” Yoo, Rice, Libby, the rest of the PINAC NeoCons, et ali killed US soldiers and countless innocent civilians in illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while Obama and now Donald in other nations. They are still on the loose. Apple has time to turn over their data to the FBI but they are all protected by laws written by rich folks to protect themselves from prosecution. And now the FBI is going after small fry, I guess because it’s super easy compared to going after big time criminals.

      1. Poor folks get to pass laws mostly when they replace rich folks which usually happens during revolutions. Examples: Soviets replacing the Romanovs; American colonists replacing English monarchial overlords; Moslem Kohmeini replacing the Shah of Iran. After the replacement, however, those poor folks who won the revolution get rich and continue the cycle of writing laws that oppress poor folks. This cycle must stop.
        This is why I am skeptical of any military/civil revolution without also changing the character of governance. Governance must become egalitarian, gender neutral, secular, non-sectarian, and power must rise bottom-upward, not top down.
        Rojava in NE Syria is a superb model that follows these principles. Its constitution even includes an environmental element which the US’s does not. But Islamo-Fascist Turkey is assaulting with German howitzers and US fighter jets while Assad is also attacking it. Trump’s US abandoned it in contravention to knowledgeable Pentagon brass like the wise Brett H. McGurk, the American envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, fiercely protested Trumpo’s military abandonment of Rojava and its heroic YPG/YPJ who heroically defeated ISIS. In this this case, he knows more than Trump.

        I urge my friends here to read up on Rojava’s governance. It could be a good market for Apple’s products.

    1. Classic deflection. Can’t address the actual crime. So let me guess, if someone firebombs your car, suddenly it’s “get em!” LOL. Nice try but this was amateur hour in defending the indefensible.

  2. OMG, John D.; just when I’ve found a few of your postings to be plausible and found myself in agreement then you go off the deep end! Your allegations don’t become factual just because you assert them. I agree that the results of USA interventions in overseas issues have had dismal results in most instances; often due to failed or faulty intelligence from our own and other nations agencies. Yet, the original objectives that were stated for some of these military actions did meet with approval (albeit temporary) from a majority of Americans. Unfortunately, military campaigns and foreign policy moves are not usually able to be reversed on a whim or if things get uncomfortably unpleasant.

    You seem to be sincere in your stated opinions but I ask you to please show actual proof, not just repeated “news” stories proffered by each of the opposing political parties against their counterpart party. Thomas Jefferson warned back in 1800 that if political parties came into prominence then they would lead to the destruction of the newly formed USA because eventually party dominance would overrule the notion of doing what is right for the country and each party’s “leaders” would only care about winning and domination, to the detriment of their fellow citizens. Woe is me; we are there now.

    1. You present a reasoned and sobered response. The real issue, in the vast majority of cases, is our willingness to violate other countries sovereignty for our own economic and strategic benefit. Those can only be classified as acts of war.

  3. I believe Mr. Jackson’s actions were simply peaceful Molotov expressions. No farm animals were harmed and thankfully, because of the “defund” commission, no additional funds will be needed to replace the police cars that experienced a carbon metamorphosis.

    Some artists have already vowed to repurpose the vehicles in a performance art piece that will be titled; Chop, Bang, Burn. Celebratory festivities, will continue this Saturday evening at 12:00 sharp.
    Please bring truncheons and solid iron objects that can be thrown when such impulses surface. In honor of Mr Jackson, flammables will be resumed the following weekend.

  4. Is a death during an arrest always murder?
    If firebombing ever legal protest?

    No and no. Context is a mandatory component to make a definitive determination with one, but not the other.

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