Baton Rouge protesters accused of arson say social media influenced crimes
BATON ROUGE - Three alleged arsonists, accused of causing $800,000 in damage around the Capital Area, told federal prosecutors on Wednesday that they were encouraged by posts on social media.
Officials say the three who were arrested in connection with four fires in Baton Rouge, 21-year-old Terry Lemond Dorsey, 22-year-old Kenyatta Sheire Huggins, and 22-year-old Shamyrin Djhodi James Johnson, told investigators they wanted "to make a statement" as a part of the widespread protests against police brutality, according to court records.
The first fire set was at a Fieldstone Drive business on the night of May 31. About seven hours later, on June 1, another fire was set at a second business on Airline Hwy. Two more fires, both at tire shops, were set early Tuesday, June 2.
Investigators said surveillance cameras spotted the suspects in the same vehicle at all four locations. Dorsey was identified through the footage and in-part due to his past run-ins with law enforcement. His arrest led police to the other suspects.
During the hearing Wednesday, Johnson said that rappers on Instagram were encouraging Baton Rouge residents to do such things.
All three allegedly attended peaceful protests on Siegen Lane prior to the fires.
Dorsey, Huggins, and Johnson were each booked with four counts of simple arson and two counts of criminal conspiracy. Their next hearing is set for Monday, June 15.
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