Greenville man sentenced for his role in 2020 riot, destruction of government property, illegal gun possession

Crime Tracker

Alexander Charles Pridgen

NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man who threw a brick through a courthouse window during a protest related to George Floyd’s death has been sentenced to more than a year in prison.

Alexander Pridgen of Greenville was sentenced to 15 months at a hearing Monday in federal court in New Bern.

He pleaded guilty to destruction of government property and possessing a firearm while under indictment.

Prosecutors say Pridgen participated in a May 2020 protest in Greenville related to the death of Floyd, a Black man whose killing at the hands of a Minnesota police officer prompted nationwide protests over racial injustice.

Pridgen admitted as part of a plea agreement that he threw a brick through a first-floor window of a federal bankruptcy court, causing $1,000 in damage.

While under indictment, Pridgen attended a party while possessing a stolen firearm. The weapon accidentally discharged and struck another partygoer, prosecutors said.

Below is a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of NC.

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Alexander Charles Pridgen, of Greenville, North Carolina, was sentenced Monday to 15 months in federal prison, 2 years of supervised release (including three months of home confinement) and ordered to make restitution on the charges of Destruction of Government Property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1361, and Receipt of a Firearm While Under Felony Indictment, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(n).

According to court documents and arguments at sentencing, in May of 2020, Pridgen was serving a term of probation on a prior state felony conviction of possessing a stolen firearm.  On May 31, 2020, Pridgen took part in a protest that devolved into riotous activity in Greenville, North Carolina.  In connection with the riot, Pridgen threw a brick through a first-floor window of the United States Bankruptcy Courthouse causing more than $1000 in damages.  Pridgen also lobbed a rock at officers with the Greenville Police Department’s Civil Disturbance Team.

After being arrested on federal charges relating to these acts, Pridgen was released on pretrial supervision on December 30, 2020.  Within two weeks of release, Pridgen attended a party in Greenville and was seen, along with others, possessing a stolen firearm.  The firearm accidentally discharged, striking another partygoer.  After learning of these events, additional federal charges were filed against Pridgen for possessing the firearm while under indictment.

Acting United States Attorney G. Norman Acker, III stated, “Destructive rioters do not only harm innocent businesses and institutions with their actions, they also make it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their time-honored right to peacefully protest.  This case sends the important message that destruction of government property is not an act of protest – it is a crime paid for with time behind bars.”

G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan announced the sentence.  The United States Marshals Service investigated the case with the assistance of the Greenville Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys William M. Gilmore and Evan Rikhye served as the prosecutors. 

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