RENO – Federal prosecutors have charged a Reno man with destruction of federal property, claiming he threw a cigarette butt receptacle through the first-floor windows of the city’s federal courthouse during a nighttime melee that followed a May 30 Black Lives Matter march.
Some two dozen people were arrested and the city of Reno imposed a curfew when violence broke out at the conclusion of a local protest over the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. Rioters broke store windows and lighted fires, and police in riot gear set off tear gas canisters to push crowds back. Most of the arrests were for disobeying police instructions to disperse or for violating the curfew.
In the federal case, Reno resident Keith Leroy Moreno, 27, is accused of throwing a 23-pound cigarette receptacle and two rocks that broke three windows at the Bruce Thompson U.S. Courthouse.
According to the Nevada U.S. attorney’s office, court documents say Moreno bragged about the act, said law enforcement wasn’t smart enough to catch him, and vowed to “go right back to it” if more civil unrest broke out. He was arrested Wednesday and made his initial appearance in court by videoconference Thursday.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said the office was committed to First Amendment rights, but “violence, destruction, and vandalism, including damage to federal property such as courthouses, will not be tolerated.”
The destruction of government property charge carries with it a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.