Fulton County judge gives $500 fine, no jail time for rioters who burned down Atlanta Wendy’s during BLM riots

Chisom Kingston and Natalie White were both charged with conspiracy to commit arson and two counts of arson.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
Two of the three suspects accused of setting fire to a Wendy's in Atlanta, Georgia during an infamous Black Lives Matter riot in 2020 have accepted plea deals, according to Fox 5.

Chisom Kingston and Natalie White were both charged with conspiracy to commit arson in the first degree and two counts of first-degree arson. The pair pleaded guilty to their crimes in a plea deal, according to court records. 

Kingston and White have both been sentenced to five years probation, ordered to pay a $500 fine and must complete 150 hours of community service, 11alive reports. Their trial is set for next week and it's unclear how the plea deals will impact the outcome.

In addition to Kingston and White, John Wesley Wade, 35, was indicted on the same charges earlier this year in January. All three initially pleaded not guilty and waived their arraignments in March 2022, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The charges stem from a violent BLM riot over the death of Rayshard Brooks, 27, who was killed in a police-involved shooting in June 2020. Brooks had reportedly punched Atlanta police officer, David Brosnan, and stole his taser while under investigation for a DUI in the parking lot of a Wendy's. Brooks aimed the Taser at Officer Brosnan and a second officer, Garrett Rolfe, shot and killed Brooks during the altercation. Brooks allegedly punched Brosnan hard enough to cause a concussion, according to AJC.

As a result, rioters torched the Wendy's in protest of Brooks' death. An autonomous zone was created at the site but was dismantled by police a few days later. Violent demonstrations followed throughout the city over the next few months.

During the time of that autonomous zone, an 8-year-old girl was killed on July 4, 2020 in the Wendy's parking lot. The girl was murdered as she rode in a car with her mother and another adult. A group had fired multiple gunshots at the vehicle, ultimately resulting in the young girl later dying at the hospital. 

Officers Rolfe and Brosnan were criminally charged by former Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard five days later, the outlet reports. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and Rolfe faces felony murder and assault charges. Rolfe was placed on leave following the incident but was reinstated last Spring.

John Wesley Wade, the third suspect that did not take a plea deal, is a prominent Black Lives Matter activist in Atlanta and led several protests in the summer of 2020. In October 2020, Wade was arrested on federal charges over a string of violent demonstrations and was sentenced to five years in federal prison in March 2022.

Wade was among a group of rioters that torched Atlanta police vehicles and set fires to United States Postal Service property during the lead up to the 2020 election. The group left notes that read "Stand By" in an attempt to frame the Proud Boys for the crimes. The phrase was in reference to when former President Donald Trump told the right-wing group to "stand back and stand by" after he was asked to condemn the Proud Boys during the first 2020 presidential debate. Trump later denounced them.

Wade was caught by police after he was ordered to wear a GPS ankle-monitoring device at the time of the attacks when he was released on bond for burning down the Wendy's location in Atlanta, Georgia, where Rayshard Brooks was shot by the Atlanta Police Department.

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