Anthony Smith, a former social studies teacher, stands outside the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia, on Nov. 28, 2023. Smith, an activist who acknowledged having helped overturn a police car during 2020 protests following the death of George Floyd, has been sentenced to a year in prison.

Anthony Smith, a prominent west Philadelphia activist, received a year in prison after admitting to aiding in flipping a police car during the 2020 George Floyd protests. His guilty plea for obstructing law enforcement during civil disorder led to the sentencing, including his involvement in arson.

During sentencing, Judge Juan Sánchez acknowledged Smith’s community efforts but highlighted the negative impact of his actions on public safety. Smith, expressing remorse, attributed his behavior to impulsiveness and peer influence.

Contrary to the prosecution’s recommendation of 30+ months, Smith received a reduced sentence of a year and a day, limiting his teaching prospects for a decade due to the felony conviction. Defense attorney Paul Hetznecker argued against imprisonment, emphasizing Smith’s extensive house arrest and lifetime of altruism overshadowed by a single regretful act.

While Smith’s case concluded with a shorter term, co-defendants received longer sentences, illustrating the varying outcomes of the legal proceedings. Earlier, Philadelphia officials settled lawsuits, allocating $9.25 million to 343 plaintiffs and funding mental health counseling for residents affected by the protests.

The incident, amplified on social media, drew criticism toward the city’s handling of the protests, prompting audits and scrutiny of Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw’s responses to the unrest in west Philadelphia.