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Minnesota man sentenced to 2 years for role in Fargo protest

April 5, 2021 GMT

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Moorhead, Minnesota man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for participating in violent protests in downtown Fargo after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Jonathan Montanez, 31, pleaded guilty in December to civil disorder for his role in a clash between protesters and law enforcement officers on May 30. Prosecutors say Montanez jumped on top of an occupied Fargo Police Department vehicle and slammed his fists on the squad, causing extensive damage.

Montanez allegedly provoked other protesters to become violent and destructive. Some law enforcement officers were injured and several businesses and vehicles in downtown Fargo were damaged, according to court documents.

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In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Peter Welte on Friday ordered Montanez to serve three years of supervised release. Restitution may be ordered at a later date.

Jason Tupman, head of the federal public defender’s office for the Dakotas, did not immediately return an email request seeking comment.

Floyd, who was Black and handcuffed, died May 25 after Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death set off protests around the world.

Chauvin is currently on trial in Minneapolis.