Trenton rioter sentenced to prison

A Mercer County man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for attempting to interfere with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder when he attempted to set fire to a police vehicle during a riot in Trenton.

Earlja J. Dudley, 28, of Trenton, previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to an information charging him with one count of attempting to obstruct, impede, or interfere with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder affecting commerce.

Judge Martinotti imposed the sentence by videoconference today.

According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, documents filed in this case and statements made in court, large-scale protests were held throughout the United States on May 31, 2020, including in Trenton, in response to the murder of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis.

Although the May 31st protest in Trenton was peaceful earlier in the day, violence erupted later as a group of individuals proceeded down East State Street in downtown Trenton and began to riot, smashing storefronts, looting stores, and attacking multiple marked Trenton Police Department vehicles parked on the 100 Block of East State Street.

A City of Trenton street camera and other video footage taken by an individual present on the street captured Dudley and an unidentified male open the hood of a police vehicle.

Dudley was then joined by another unidentified male who ignited an object that Dudley was holding.

Dudley then placed the flaming object into the engine well of a Trenton Police Department vehicle, attempting to set the police vehicle on fire.

Law enforcement later identified Dudley through analysis of street camera and other video footage and he was arrested on June 17, 2020.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Martinotti sentenced Dudley to three years of supervised release.

Dudley is the third of four individuals sentenced in connection with the protest in Trenton.

Killian F. Melecio was sentenced in June 2021 to 28 months in prison and three years of supervised release; Justin D. Spry was sentenced in September 2021 to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

Kadeem A. Dockery previously pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

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