Bristol riot: Man jailed for five years for ‘throwing missiles’ at police

  • Video of Benjamin Rankin involved in the riot (credit: Avon and Somerset Police).

A man has been jailed for five years for his involvement in a riot in Bristol earlier this year.

Benjamin Rankin threw missiles at police officers, threw a bike onto a fire and tried to get into a police vehicle during the riot in March.

The 41-year-old, who is of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to the offence of riot and was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court.

Judge James Patrick, who described Rankin’s behaviour as “criminal”, said his sentence would have been longer had he been found guilty by a jury.

Police vehicles were set on fire during the riot.

“Officers were attacked and dragged into the crowd, separated from their colleagues,” the judge told the court.

“It is fortunate they were not more seriously hurt.

“Your behaviour was criminal and far exceeded anything that can be described as a lawful protest.

“The dehumanisation of officers is a big factor in this case and your remorse shows you have some empathy.”

The riot started after a peaceful Kill The Bill protest in Bristol turned violent.

Demonstrators marched on a city centre police station and set fire to a number of vehicles.

'Worst violence in Bristol for years'

Ch Supt Carolyn Belafonte said Rankin was involved in “some of the worst violence and disorder seen in Bristol for many years”.

Police officers in riot gear.

“He should be thoroughly ashamed of the role he played in the riot and for the fear and anxiety he caused within our communities,” she said.

“A total of 80 people have been arrested so far in what continues to be the largest investigation ever carried out by our force. To date, 35 people have been charged but this is far from over and all those people who instigated and took part in this wanton violence should be brought to justice for their shameful actions.”

Police are still attempting to identify 37 people involved in the riot.

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