Thursday December 2nd, 2021 11:06PM

5 men sentenced for setting fire to Gainesville police vehicle

By AccessWDUN staff

Five Hall County men have been sentenced for setting a Gainesville police vehicle on fire while it was parked outside the officer's residence. The incident happened in June of 2020 during the George Floyd riots. 

Each defendant has been sentenced to serve at least one year in prison for a charge of conspiring to commit arson. 

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the five defendants met in the parking lot of an unnamed pharmacy near downtown Gainesville on June 1, 2020. The five men were in the area to participate in a protest following the death of George Floyd. 

One of the defendants, Judah Coleman Bailey, 21, of Gainesville, brought a flare gun and cartridges to the pharmacy with him. He and the four other men discussed the location of a Gainesville Police Department patrol car. The five agreed that they would drive to the location and someone would shoot the flare gun at the police car.

Jesse James Smallwood, also of Gainesville, drove the group to the apartment complex where the police car was parked. Upon arrival, all five men put masks and bandanas over their faces and left the car. Bailey shot a flare inside the police vehicle through the back windshield, setting the car on fire. All five men then left the scene in Smallwood's car.

A witness saw the group, and the vehicle they drove, going to and from the apartment complex. The group was arrested shortly afterward following a tip from the witness.

“We want our community to know we stand with them during their rights to peacefully protest. However, these defendants did not peacefully protest, rather, they took this opportunity to target one of our officers at his residence," said Gainesville Police Department Chief Jay Parrish in the press release. "This type of violence and destruction will not be tolerated in our community."

The defendants and their sentences include:

  • Smallwood was sentenced Tuesday, to one year, nine months of imprisonment. He pleaded guilty on September 29, 2021.
  • Delveccho Waller, Jr., 23, of Gainesville was sentenced on August 26, 2021 to one year, nine months of imprisonment. He pleaded guilty on May 13, 2021.
  • Bailey was sentenced on June 30, 2021 to one year, nine months of imprisonment. He pleaded guilty on March 25, 2021.
  • Dashun Martin, 24, of Gainesville was sentenced Monday to one year, five months of imprisonment. He pleaded guilty on November 4, 2021.
  • Bruce Thompson, 23, of Oakwood was sentenced on August 26, 2021 to just over one year, two months of imprisonment. He pleaded guilty on May 10, 2021.

In addition to their sentences, the defendants were ordered to pay the Gainesville Police Department $3,678.17 in restitution.

The case was investigated by the FBI-Gainesville Field Office, the Gainesville Police Department, and the Gainesville Fire Department.




  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Gainesville Police Department, car fire, sentencing, George Floyd
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