FCharleston, South Carolina OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, July 8, 2021 Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office

District of South Carolina

Charleston Rioter Sentenced to 18 Months in Federal Prison

Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that Abraham Jenkins, 26, of Charleston, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to civil disorders related to the violence and destruction in downtown Charleston on May 30, 2020.

Jenkins is the second of six defendants to be sentenced on federal charges stemming from participation of actions including arson, inciting riots, and other civil disorder in Columbia and Charleston on May 30 and 31, 2020.

“The United States Attorney’s Office will always protect the First Amendment rights of South Carolinians,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DeHart.  “However, when peaceful protests turn into violence and destruction, the violent agitators committing crimes will be brought to justice.”

“To protect our right to peacefully protest, the FBI will continue to investigate individuals that engage in criminal conduct that causes personal injury and property destruction as part of a riot,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Susan Ferensic.  “We are grateful for the work done by the ATF, Charleston Police Department and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division that helped bring this offender to justice.”

“The Charleston Police Department applauds the successful resolution of this criminal case and the support the displayed by the United States Attorney’s Office regarding this incident,” said Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds.  “While the Charleston Police Department will always support our citizen’s right to peaceful protest, we will never condone violent or destructive acts that endanger our citizens or damage property.  More work remains to be accomplished as we continue investigating and prosecuting those violent offenders responsible for the significant destruction of property, assault on our citizens and attack on our officers.  We will not rest until justice is accomplished for all impacted by those criminal acts.”

“The Mount Pleasant Police Department appreciates the investigation in this matter and feels the process worked out in the interest of justice,” read in part a statement from the Mount Pleasant Police Department.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement and community partners to ensure our citizens rights, safety, and property are protected.”

Evidence presented in court showed that Jenkins stood on top of a Town of Mount Pleasant Police vehicle, damaging it; sprayed a fire extinguisher at police officers who were patrolling Charleston on two separate occasions; and threw a water bottle at a patrolling officer.  Jenkins also took a burning t-shirt and threw it through a broken back window of a Charleston Police cruiser, causing damage to the cruiser.

United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel sentenced Jenkins to 18 imprisonment to be followed by 36 months of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was investigated by the FBI, ATF, Charleston Police Department, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  Numerous other local police departments and Solicitors’ Offices across the states have also assisted in the investigations of civil unrest in May 2020. 

Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Limehouse and Nathan Williams prosecuted the case.

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Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
USAO - South Carolina
Contact: 
Michael Mule' (843) 327-0882
Updated July 8, 2021