OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A 23-year-old Oakland man, who admitted to bringing an explosive device to a protest over the death of Nia Wilson that injured 10 police officers, has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued the sentence to Giovonni Gaines on Thursday.
According to his guilty plea agreement, Gaines bought an explosive device comprised of a metallic substance capped at both ends, one inch in diameter and six inches long and containing an explosive charge from somebody in his neighborhood.
Federal prosecutors said Gaines traveled by bicycle on July 23, 2018, with the device in a backpack to a protest over the stabbing death of Nia Wilson on BART near the 1900 block of Broadway in Oakland.
There were approximately 1000 people and dozens of law enforcement officers present.
Gaines saw officers from the Oakland police department clashing with some protesters and took the device out of his backpack. He lit the device and handed it to a juvenile near him.
He admitted he instructed the juvenile to throw the device toward law enforcement officers to create a distraction and disrupt the officers’ efforts to maintain a peaceful protest.
The juvenile threw the device and it exploded. Gaines acknowledged that he heard the blast and later learned the explosion injured approximately ten officers and caused damage to Oakland police department property.
On December 21, 2018, Gaines was charged with one count of possessing an unregistered firearm, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d) and eventually pleaded guilty to the charge.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Gonzalez Rogers sentenced Gaines to a three-year period of supervised release. Gaines was ordered to surrender on a date in September to begin serving his prison term.