During the May 28th Black Lives Matter riot in Minneapolis, Montez Terri Lee traveled to Minneapolis from Rochester, doused the inside of a pawn shop with gasoline, and set it on fire while gleefully screaming, “burn this ****** down.”
Two months later, the body of Oscar Lee Stewart Jr., 30, was dug out of the rubble. Stewart, the pawnshop’s owner, died of burns and smoke inhalation.
Stewart is one of at least thirty-five people who died due to BLM & Antifa rioting in 2020.
Stewart faced federal sentencing guidelines that called for 19.5-20 years in prison. However, an Assistant U.S. Attorney agreed to ask the court for leniency in exchange for a guilty plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Calhoun-Lopez downplayed Lee’s brutal crime in a presentence filing. Lopez claimed Lee’s true intention was only to protest alleged “unlawful police violence.” Lopez wrote, “many people who felt angry, frustrated and disenfranchised, and who were attempting — in many cases in an unacceptably reckless and dangerous manner — to give voice to those feelings. Mr. Lee appears to be squarely in this … category.”
Lopez also invoked Martin Luther King’s famous defense of criminal rioting, saying, “we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.”
Lee’s defense attorney Bruce Rivers praised the prosecutor, saying, “I thought the prosecutor’s words were incredible and thoughtful. It is too often that we are on one side, and they are on the other side. I found myself quoting the government in my [sentencing] position paper more than once.”
In the end, Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright sentenced Lee to ten years. One-half of what the federal sentencing guidelines called for and two years less than the amount Lopez even requested.
With prosecutors like Lopez, it’s no wonder homicide rates are surging across America.