Joshua Williams, a well-known protester who has often been quoted as an advocate for peace, was arrested and charged on Saturday for allegedly setting a fire at a QuikTrip convenience store in Berkeley, Missouri.
Williams, 19, was reportedly caught on surveillance cameras setting a pile of wood on fire outside of the store and later confessed to the incident in a videotaped interview with authorities.
Williams was protesting the shooting death of 18-year-old Antonio Martin, who was killed after he pulled a gun on a police officer last week. Williams allegedly went to the Quiktrip after looters had shattered the store’s glass doors. Videos show the young man both inside and outside of the convenience store.
Williams is facing a number of charges, including arson, and is currently being held on $30,000 bond. Some supporters argued that the videos are not “clear enough” to be considered conclusive evidence, and others have expressed disbelief over his reported confession.
“Josh is one of the young activists, and all of us have taken close to him. We got to know his heart, and he got to know ours,” local Bishop Derrick Robinson said. “He’s a great kid, an educated kid, a child who knows what he wants and is very active in the community.”