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.
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 mtlcounterinfo.org 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.
“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.