No jail time for man who set police car on fire during 2020 riots in SLC

Jan 28, 2022, 6:56 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 3:34 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge granted mercy to a man who set fire to a Salt Lake City police car during the 2020 riots in downtown.

Larry Williams, 24, walked out of the federal courthouse after sentencing day Friday with a two year supervised home detention, when he could have been sentenced to several years in prison.

He was also the last of five men who were charged on that day for the same type of crime. The other four all got a year or more behind bars.

Williams’ attorney, Scott Williams, who has no relationship, believes it was a fair sentence.

“The impact that it’s had on his life forever, in a whole variety of ways, are consequences that are as severe as anyone would really need to suffer,” Williams said.

Before the charges, Larry Williams was an Airman 1st Class at Hill Air Force Base. He was identified through a gas mask he got from training and that he wore when he took a combustible fabric and threw it into the patrol car, setting it on fire.

In court, Williams gave an emotional plea for forgiveness, saying, “I would absolutely do anything to take that day back. That day, I made a mistake. I failed. I failed myself. I failed my family. I failed this country. I failed the civilians that were around, the police officers and the other military members. I made a terrible mistake. It’s not excusable. I broke the law and I can’t under or overstate that – I broke the law.”

Judge David Barlow called this act a “very serious and dangerous” crime, but said Williams’ spotless record, his service to his country, and his sorrow all played a role in not getting any jail time.

“I don’t believe it would help him to be incarcerated,” Barlow said. “No evidence of premeditation, never used a weapon or encouraged others to riot. I don’t believe you pose any other threats to the public. I would be shocked if you commit another crime.”

Under the two year home detention, Williams is only allowed to leave his home for work, medical or religious reasons.

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No jail time for man who set police car on fire during 2020 riots in SLC