Duval County

George Floyd protests: Man arrested in Jacksonville faces federal charges for possessing Molotov cocktail

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax has learned more about an arrest from last weekend’s protests in downtown Jacksonville.

Ivan Zecher, 27, from Jacksonville now faces federal charges, according to a release from the office of U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez.

Prosecutors say he had a backpack with a Molotov cocktail inside during the May 31 protest that was a demonstration against the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Zecher “was part of a group of protesters blocking traffic and throwing items such as water bottles and rocks at police officers and cars,” according to the release.

He was then arrested after he did not obey orders to disperse, prosecutors said. As police went to put handcuffs on Zecher, they noticed a liquid leaking from his backpack.

Officers found a liquor bottle that smelled of gasoline. Zecher told investigators he was holding it for “an associate, and that he knew the bottle contained gasoline," according to the release.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined the bottle contained gasoline and polystyrene (a flammable gel), and the cork to which was coated with polystyrene, which constituted a “Molotov cocktail,” an incendiary bomb and destructive device and therefore considered a firearm under federal law.

Since he is a convicted felon, Zecher faces charges of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm.

Police say Zecher also had a lighter and a hatchet in his possession when he was arrested.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office posted a picture with the Molotov cocktail and the backpack after last Saturday’s protest.

Zecher’s fiancee, Alexandria, sent the following statement to Action News Jax:

“Ivan is a loving, kind, hardworking man whose (sic) the pillar of our family. This is a devastating time for us and I encourage everyone to remember the principles of our constitution “innocent until proven guilty” and to keep our family in their prayers.”

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