Man sentenced for Indiana blast that scattered protesters

A man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for throwing a lit explosive device last year outside a northwest Indiana courthouse, causing a blast that scattered a group of people protesting George Floyd’s death in police custody.

A judge sentenced Robert Lee Perkins to a four-year sentence on Tuesday, with 18 months in prison followed by 30 months on probation, the Journal & Courier reported. He had pleaded guilty in October to rioting and intimidation.

Perkins, 35, was also ordered Tuesday to pay $5,000 in restitution for damage to the Tippecanoe County Courthouse and other expenses associated with the rioting, said county prosecuting attorney Patrick Harrington.

Authorities said Perkins was seen lighting the fuse on a red cylinder and throwing the object at the south entrance to the courthouse in Lafayette on May 31, 2020.

Officers saw a bright flash, heard a loud explosion and “felt the vibration from the explosion from inside the Courthouse,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Jason Huber, the commander of the Tippecanoe County Bomb Squad, said the explosive device was “capable of causing significant bodily injury.”

The explosion scattered people taking part in a protest days after then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the ground with a knee to his neck, leading to Floyd’s police custody death on a Minneapolis street.

Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder earlier this year in Floyd’s death.

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