PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – An Indiana man was sentenced to federal prison on Tuesday for possessing destructive devices during 2020 Portland protests, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon announced.

25-year-old Malik Fard Muhammad was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison with three years’ supervised release.

“The risk of a law enforcement officer or community member being seriously hurt or killed by the actions of this individual was very real,” said Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell. “I’m gratified to know that he is being held accountable for the danger his criminal actions caused. I want to extend my sincere thanks to the investigators and prosecutors whose diligent, meticulous work made this sentence possible, as well as the members of PPB and other agencies who put themselves at risk to protect our city against violence and destruction during this period of time.”

According to court documents, in the summer of 2020, Muhammad and his girlfriend traveled from Indianapolis to Portland to “violently engage” in protests. Authorities said Muhammad pleaded guilty to seriously burning a demonstrator after throwing a Molotov cocktail and providing protestors with baseball bats during a September 5, 2020 demonstration.

After the demonstration, police found a baseball bat with a Goodwill price tag in the area. Police obtained surveillance video from Goodwill that showed Muhammad and his girlfriend buying the bats along with growler bottles.

After Muhammad’s October 2020 arrest, authorities seized his cell phone – finding messages where he bragged about giving out the bats. Officials said the phone also had a shopping list of items used to make a Molotov cocktail.

On September 21, 2020, at a demonstration near the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Penumbra Kelly Building, authorities reported seeing someone light an object on fire and throw it toward the building.

An officer reported seeing the object fly towards his vehicle and land about 15 feet away from a police sound truck. Officers learned the item was a growler with a Goodwill sticker, a cloth wick and an ignitable liquid. DNA analysis linked the growler to Muhammad, authorities said.

According to the attorney’s office, two days later, protesters broke windows and set fire to the Multnomah County Justice Center. Video obtained by authorities showed Muhammad throw a Molotov cocktail in a growler. While some officers were able to move out of the way, one officer’s leg caught on fire.

In a screen grab from a September 23, 2020 protest in Portland, investigators say Malik Muhammed threw a Molotov cocktail that exploded at the feet of Portland police. He is now charged with attempted murder, April 5, 2021 (KOIN)

During an October 11, 2020 protest in downtown Portland, police arrested Muhammad after witnessing him use a metal baton to smash several windows. Officials said Muhammad also had a loaded handgun magazine in his pocket. Authorities found a loaded handgun discarded nearby that matched Muhammad’s magazine.

The attorney’s office said Muhammad’s trip to Portland does not appear to be an isolated incident. In August 2020, authorities report he also traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to meet with “anti-government and anti-authority violent extremist groups to conduct firearms and tactical training.”

Investigators also found social media posts in which Muhammad promoted violence toward law enforcement in other cities including Kenosha, Wisconsin and Chicago.

Muhammad was later charged on May 28, 2021 with possession of unregistered destructive devices, engaging in civil disorder and obstructing law enforcement, and using explosives to commit a felony. A Portland federal grand jury indicted Muhammad on the same charges on June 15, 2021. He pleaded guilty to possessing unregistered destructive devices on May 28, 2022.

Per his sentencing, Muhammad forfeited interest in a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, ammunition and all Molotov cocktail supplies.

Muhammad’s federal prison sentence will also run concurrently with a 10-year sentence from the Multnomah County Circuit court. He will serve his sentence in Oregon state prison.

“In the summer of 2020, a historic protest movement in Portland was marred by violent rioters taking advantage of the momentum built by thousands of peaceful demonstrators. Sadly, this violence drastically changed the narrative around these protests and what they accomplished. In the lead up to and during protests, federal law enforcement is focused on doing everything we can to support the First Amendment rights of individuals while keeping all demonstrators, other community members, and law enforcement officers safe. Holding accountable those individuals whose sole focus is violence and destruction, like Mr. Muhammad, is central to our ongoing effort to support the rights of all Oregonians,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“Malik Fard Muhammad intentionally planned and committed acts of violence that threatened other protestors, members of the public, and law enforcement officers. This type of violence has no place in our community,” FBI Portland Special Agent in Charge Kieran Ramsey said. “The FBI is committed to apprehending and charging violent instigators who plan, promote, and commit acts of violence and destruction. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect the peaceful expression of free speech throughout Oregon.”

“The right to protest peacefully is absolute,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson. “But it is clear Mr. Muhammad didn’t come to exercise his rights. He came from out-of-state to bring violence to our community. This sentence should send a clear message to those who want to engage in violence that it will not be tolerated, and ATF will investigate these acts whenever they occur.”