Mobile Woman Sentenced on Federal Riot Charge for Breaking Window of Police Vehicle | Mobile County Alabama News
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A federal jury in Mobile has found a woman guilty of violating riot law.
Tia Pugh was arrested in May 2020 after smashing the window of an unoccupied mobile police vehicle during a protest in the city center.
That was almost a year ago – May 31, 2021 – Pugh took part in a protest in the port city after the death of George Floyd, where she smashed the window of an unoccupied mobile police vehicle with a baseball bat.
The crime earned him a federal charge of “obstructing law enforcement officials in a way that had an impact on interstate commerce.”
“We believe the evidence was not sufficient to meet the elements of a federal charge, but the jury saw it differently than we hoped,” said Gordon Armstrong, Pugh’s attorney.
Armstrong even thought the actual video of the crime might help the case – but says that ultimately it was where the crime happened that was the “critical issue.”
“The fact of the location right there on the slip road – that’s probably what made the difference if interstate commerce was affected rather than if it happened on Dauphin Street or here on St. Joseph or elsewhere. “Armstrong said.
All along, Armstrong has argued the case should have stayed in state court – even calling it “overcost.”
“It should never have been here … Now she is watching a crime that will follow her the rest of her life for what in state court is a misdemeanor she should have paid restitution,” said Armstrong. “Because deep down she broke a window – and made him pay a restitution … for the window, which she never denied and put it under some form of surveillance and the let her continue her life. “
Pugh faces a maximum of five years in prison, although the actual sentence is likely much less according to sentencing guidelines.