CLEVELAND — A federal jury has returned guilty verdicts against Tandre Buchanan, Jr. for robbery and evidence tampering at Colossal Cupcakes during the George Floyd demonstration in Cleveland on May 30, 2020.
The 24-year-old Buchanan was arrested shortly after authorities released images of suspects who were wanted for various crimes in the city connected to the violence.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Buchanan threw an object that shattered a large window at Colossal Cupcakes on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland. He then entered the business through the broken window and encountered the store owner and employees, who locked themselves in a bathroom to call for help.
Buchanan was wearing wearing a bright orange jacket, head covering and shoes on that day. He removed a chair from the shop and exited through the same window. Using the chair, Buchanan repeatedly smashed a second window until it finally shattered and fell out.
Court documents state that multiple individuals then entered the business through the broken window, destroyed the shop’s interior and stole several items, including store inventory and iPads, all while Buchanan was smashing the second window.
According to court records, text messages regarding the incident were later recovered from Buchanan’s phone. An individual sent a text to Buchanan’s asking, “what the hell they do with all the cupcakes?” Buchanan replied, “man I was giving them out.”
Buchanan's attorney, Steven Bradley, said his client did indeed vandalize the cupcake shop – and also smashed a revolving door at Huntington Bank -- but he did not steal anything. Bradley repeatedly noted that Buchanan was not charged with vandalism.
Also during his opening remarks, Bradley said Buchanan was “filled with anger and rage” over law enforcement’s reaction to the demonstrators. He said his client was struck by a rubber bullet fired by police outside the Justice Center on Lakeside Avenue, where a confrontation broke out after the march.
Bradley likened that to lighting a match on a “tinder box.”
“It was on,” Bradley said. “All that anger built up and explodes out.”
The jury also found Buchanan guilty of evidence tampering after evidence showed Buchanan disposed of the bright orange clothing he wore in an attempt to conceal his identity and participation in the incident. He was ultimately identified and arrested based on multiple identifications made from photos released to the public.
Buchanan is scheduled to be sentenced on March 23, 2022. A federal district court judge will determine a sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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