John Boampong, 37, is accused of indiscriminately firing 11 gunshots at officers from his car in the early hours of June 1 following a violent protest. He was charged Thursday with one count each of assaulting a federal officer, interfering with a law enforcement officer during the commission of a civil disorder, and being a prohibited person under felony indictment in possession of a firearm and ammunition, the Justice Department said.
“The charges in this case – which involve someone legally barred from having a gun indiscriminately firing 11 rounds at a crowd of officers and civilians – are a good reminder of a simple rule: Protests, even disruptive ones, are legal,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said. “Destroying property and endangering lives is not. We will enforce that rule.”
The protest in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood came days after the death of George Floyd. The gathering eventually devolved into widespread looting and vandalism of police property, including the setting ablaze of a police vehicle. Some protesters threw rocks, bricks and explosives — including M-80s — at police officers, injuring many, prosecutors said.
Smoke rises around police as they spray pepper spray during clashes with protesters after a May 31 demonstration over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis Police custody, in Boston. A Boston-area man was federally charged Thursday with shooting at a group of police officers after a protest against police brutality. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
Boampong, a resident of nearby Dorchester, was driving his car around 3 a.m. when he was instructed by officers near a store that had been vandalized to leave the area.
He drove away but returned a short time later and allegedly opened fire on the officers, including on a deputized federal officer who was assigned to an FBI task force with orders to collect intelligence on suspected Antifa activity, the Boston Herald reported.
The officers took cover behind cars. Some rounds went through two apartment windows.
When Boampong’s car was stopped, officers found a Sig Sauer P230 9mm handgun on the front passenger floor and a black holster underneath the driver’s seat, prosecutors said. The firearm had his fingerprint, authorities said.
Boampong was barred from possessing a firearm at the time because of pending state charges. In addition to the federal charges, he also faces 21 state charges, including armed assault with intent to murder, according to the newspaper.
“Mr. Boampong’s behavior was egregious, violent and unacceptable and he will be held accountable,” Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins in a statement. “Any opportunity to work in collaboration with our federal partners to keep Suffolk County residents and the members of law enforcement that are sworn to protect and serve us, is welcomed by my office.”
Boampong is being detained in state court and will appear in federal court at a later date. He faces up to 30 years in prison on the federal charges.