A D.C. man was charged in federal court Friday after he allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at a Metropolitan Police Department officer in a squad car.
Just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, an officer was parking an unmarked police cruiser in front of the Sixth District Police Station in the 5000 block of Hayes Street NE when Ashton Nesmith, 26, approached and threw the explosive device, according to a police statement.
The Molotov cocktail struck the car and landed on the ground, where it exploded.
Officers chased the man on foot and apprehended him, police said.
No one was injured.
He appeared in court Thursday and was charged by the U.S. attorney for D.C. Friday. Nesmith is charged with arson, using and discharging a destructive device during a crime of violence, and possessing a destructive device.
“We will not tolerate attacks on police officers in the District of Columbia. The conduct alleged in the criminal complaint posed grave danger to D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officers, at a time when officers continue to risk their lives to serve and protect the public during this time of crisis,” said U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea.
“The charges filed in this case should serve as a warning to anyone who would consider resorting to violence against law enforcement or anyone else as we face the current health crisis.”
If convicted, Nesmith could spend a minimum of 35 years in prison.
“This was a callous attack on law enforcement with potentially disastrous results, and we are grateful that the suspect is in custody,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Washington Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict.