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Cleveland man gets more than 3 years in prison for starting fire inside REBoL restaurant during May 2020 riots

Michael Sloan attended what began as a protest against the murder of George Floyd, but was later one of several who caused the demonstration to turn violent.

CLEVELAND — *EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video is from our previous coverage of the riots.

A Cleveland man will serve more than three years in federal prison for his role in the infamous downtown riots that took place in May of 2020.

Michael Sloan, 27, received a 43-month prison sentence Tuesday for setting fire to the REBoL restaurant on West Superior Avenue. Sloan had previously pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit arson.

Sloan was one of thousands downtown on May 30, 2020 who were protesting the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. What had begun as a peaceful demonstration later turned violent when some of the protesters as well as others began severely damaging businesses and property.

According to prosecutors, REBoL had already been broken into and looted when Sloan arrived at the establishment and set the the east service counter ablaze. Video apparently showed him feeding the flames with paper and "other combustibles" for a period of several minutes before fleeing once police arrived.

"Hijacking a constitutionally-protected assembly in order to pursue a personal agenda that included arson and destruction of property is a corruption of our rights and freedoms," said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Michelle M. Baeppler said in a statement regarding Sloan's sentence. "Those who cause violence, chaos and destruction of property will be held accountable."

Officials say law enforcement put the fire out before it could cause more damage. REBoL has since reopened, along with several other downtown businesses that were damaged in the riots.

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