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Man sentenced to 5 years in prison after shooting gun during Boston protest

A Boston man who repeatedly fired a gun in the direction of officers during a protest against police brutality last summer was sentenced to five years in prison, prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday.

John Boampong, 37, previously pleaded guilty to interfering with a law enforcement officer during the commission of a civil disorder, receipt of a firearm by a person under indictment for a felony offense, and assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers or employees, the Department of Justice said in a statement. Boampong has also been ordered to serve three years of supervised release after his prison sentence is completed.

A protest on the evening of May 31, 2020 in downtown Boston started peacefully, but turned chaotic as it continued into the early morning. Some people began vandalizing property and looting nearby buildings. Police property was also destroyed, including a cruiser that was lit on fire on Tremont Street, prosecutors said, and numerous officers were injured.

At around 3 a.m., Boampong encountered police while driving his car near Arlington and Boylston streets, close to a store that had been looted. Officers asked Boampong and his passengers to leave the area. They resisted and refused to leave, prosecutors said. Boampong then began driving in reverse.

Prosecutors said he ignored officers' instructions to stop, despite officers and another vehicle being in the way. He drove away but returned a short time later and parked on Providence Street, where he fired a weapon at least 11 times at officers, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said officers were able to dodge the bullets, but they broke through windows of nearby buildings.

Police found a pistol and holster in the front of the car. The gun was later found to have Boampong’s fingerprints, prosecutors said, though he was prohibited from having a gun or ammunition in his possession at the time due to other pending state charges.

"It is only by chance no one was killed,” acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell said in the statement. “Violence leads to no good outcome, and for Mr. Boampong it led to federal charges and prison.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who has been nominated to become the next U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts, said in the statement that her office fully supports Boampong's prosecution.

“In Suffolk County, when people violently disrupt peaceful protesters and put the lives of protesters and the police in danger, they will be held accountable," Rollins said. "That is exactly what happened here."

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Laney Ruckstuhl is an associate digital producer.

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