OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A man charged with terrorism after the protests in Oklahoma City last May chose to plead guilty to arson in the third degree on Friday morning.
“The whole entire case honestly was not correct. Of course, I’m not a terrorist,” Eric Ruffin said.
Ruffin was one of three men charged by the Oklahoma County District Attorney with terrorism for the protest in downtown Oklahoma City on May 30th, 2020.
According to court documents, a live-streamed video showed three rioters allegedly breaking the front glass of a business before setting it on fire.
Back then, David Prater told News 4, “When you act like a terrorist, you will be treated like a terrorist.”
On Friday, Ruffin’s terrorism charges were dropped.
“Mr. Ruffin entered a plea to arson in the 3rd degree. The state formally went ahead and dismissed both terrorism activity charges. We believe that was the right thing to do. Those charges in my opinion shouldn’t have been brought,” said Clay Curtis, Ruffin’s attorney.
Ruffin’s attorney tells us the arson charge coming from when an Oklahoma County Sheriff’s vehicle went up in flames.
But Ruffin says he didn’t start the fire.
“Unfortunately, they had to basically put the rap on somebody. Due to me not knowing parties that were doing damage and stuff like that, everything was basically put on me,” Ruffin said.
“I’m not happy. These charges have literally ruined my life. Being labeled as a terrorist.”
Ruffin tells KFOR he’s lost his job.
His attorney says while he has a tough road ahead, this is the best outcome.
“We took an appropriate amount of responsibility today. We did not burn anything. We did not destroy anything. But we did sort of play a role of encouragement. And we regret that,” Curtis said. “Hopefully also that state can learn from some of the mistakes they made that night.”
When asked whether he would change anything about his role in the events on May 30th, Ruffin saying–
“I wouldn’t,” Ruffin said. “I’m pro people protesting. But the main thing that I want people to know and understand is we have to find a way to actually do this peacefully.”
We contacted District Attorney David Prater for comment but have yet to hear back.
Ruffin’s attorney also says he will have to pay $5000 in restitution for damages to a bail bonds business. But he tells us the charges against Ruffin were dropped in that case.