A 35-year-old Renton man was sentenced Sept. 13 in U.S. District Court to 40 months in prison for his role in a plot to burn down the Seattle Police Officers Union building in downtown Seattle during the September 2020 protests.

Defendant Justin Christopher Moore pleaded guilty in September 2022.

At the sentencing hearing, according to a September 13 US Department of Justice press release, US District Judge Loren King said: “What you did demonstrated a complete disregard for human life. Our ability to peacefully assemble is a fundamental right of our society. It can prevent people from exercising this basic right.

According to records filed in the case, Moore made and carried a box containing 12 Molotov cocktails on a protest march to the Seattle Police Officers Union building on September 7, 2020. Protesters were eventually removed from the building in downtown Seattle. Police smelled gasoline and became increasingly concerned about the protesters’ intentions. The box containing 12 gasoline devices was found in the parking lot next to the Seattle Police Officers Association building.

Using videos from that day and other protests, as well as information from other conspirators’ electronic devices, it was confirmed that Moore was the person seen carrying the box of destroyed devices.

In June 2021, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Moore’s home. They confiscated clothing consistent with photos that Moore was wearing when he was carrying Molotov cocktails. They also recovered from the basement storage area several items consistent with the manufacture of explosive devices. Law enforcement authorities found a notebook in which Moore wrote entries related to the manufacture of the destroyed devices and the necessary components.

In seeking a 41-month prison sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg noted that carrying and leaving a box of explosive bottles is inherently dangerous.

“Moore’s crime was extremely serious and created a significant risk of injury to multiple bystanders,” Greenberg said. “Moore carried a box containing twelve Molotov cocktails into a crowd of more than 1,000 people who were participating in the protest march. They were all in danger if one of the devices exploded.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Seattle Police Department.

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