The United States Attorney's Office has charged four men, including one from Atlantic City, with arson in connection to a riot in Center City Philadelphia on May 30th in which police cars were torched.

United States Attorney William McSwain says 30-year-old Carlos Matchett of Atlantic City, 25-year-old Khalif Miller of Philadelphia, and 29-year-old David Ale Smith of Philadelphia, have been charged by indictment for the arson of a Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) vehicle. In a separate case, 24-year-old Ayoub Tabri of Arlington, VA, has been charged by indictment for the arson of a Pennsylvania State Police vehicle. Both incidents occurred during a riot in Philadelphia on May 30th.

McSwain's office says,

On that day, [Philadelphia Police Department] Civil Affairs Car C-109 was parked on the north side of City Hall near Broad and Market Streets. During the violent episodes that began in the vicinity of City Hall that afternoon, defendants Matchett, Miller, and Smith allegedly placed combustible materials into the vehicle, after a road flare placed in the vehicle started a fire. As a result of these acts, the PPD vehicle was destroyed. A grand jury charged each of the defendants with two counts of arson, and one count of obstructing law enforcement in the commission of their duties during a civil disorder.

In the charges against Tabri, a Pennsylvania State Police SUV was attacked at Broad and Vine Streets. Tabri allegedly threw a lit road flare into that vehicle, igniting a fire that engulfed the SUV. A grand jury charged Tabri with two counts of arson and one count of obstructing law enforcement in the commission of their duties during a civil disorder.

Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division, said in a press release, "These individuals were not in the City to participate in a peaceful protest: instead, it appears they posed as protestors and allegedly set fire to a Pennsylvania State Police vehicle and a Philadelphia Police vehicle. Arson is an extremely violent act which presents a tremendous threat to public safety. We will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to seek justice during these tumultuous times."

If convicted, all four defendants face a mandatory minimum of seven years in prison, and a maximum possible sentence of 65 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $750,000.

Matchett was also charged earlier this year in connection to the looting that took place at The Walk in Atlantic City on May 31st. Federal prosecutors said he was among, "a group of people engaged in a spree of rioting, destruction, and looting in and around the Tanger Outlets...". He was arrested after he refused to leave the area; police said they found a knife, a hatchet, and a jar filled with gasoline in his backpack. Prior to the looting in Atlantic City, investigators said Matchett had written "LET'S START A RIOT" on his Facebook page.

 

With prior reporting from Townsquare Media's Sergio Bichao.

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