GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A man who stuck a signpost through a police car window during the Grand Rapids riot initially went downtown in hopes of preventing vandalism, his lawyer said.
Matthew Hurth, 27, was ordered to pay $338,493 in restitution to help pay for five wrecked Wyoming police cars in his sentence on Tuesday, June 15 in Kent County Court.
Hurth was also placed on a three-year probation. He had already served one day in prison and received no additional prison terms.
In Tuesday’s ruling, attorney Jeff Crampton said Hurth went to the center on May 30, 2020 with good intentions.
“He went downtown to help stop things. He was passionate about the cause of BLM (Black Lives Matter) and was upset that it was being undermined by the destruction that was taking place,” said Crampton.
“He can be heard on videos telling people to stop,” he said. “It was like someone flipped the switch and he took a stop sign and put it in the window of a police car.
“Almost immediately after doing this, he was horrified by what he had done. And he left,” said Crampton.
Cramton told Judge Christina Elmore that Hurth’s decision-making that night was “clouded by alcohol,” but other than that, he is struggling to understand what caused his behavior.
The five Wyoming police cars, parked on Pearl Street east of Monroe Avenue, were destroyed by fire during the riot. In all, an estimated $2.1 million in damages caused by vandalism and looting of businesses and government buildings.
Hurth is one of 22 people indicted after the riot. Several have already been sentenced, some to up to a year in prison.
Hurth apologized in court on Tuesday.
“I know what I did was wrong. I just hope to go through this experience stronger and wiser,” he said.
Elmore noted that Hurth had no previous records before Tuesday. She said it was “inexplicable” that he was involved in the riot.
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