Tandre Buchanan Jr. in late March was sentenced to 48 months in prison and three years of supervised probation for breaking the windows of Colossal Cupcakes during the May 2020 George Floyd riots in Cleveland. A judge ruled Buchanan would self-report to the designated federal prison on his own, remaining out on bond in the meantime.
Today, his bond was revoked and he was taken into custody to immediately begin his sentence after a federal judge agreed with a government motion arguing that video that showed Buchanan giving the middle finger to Fox 8 cameras after a March hearing proved he showed no remorse for his crimes.
"The video captured Buchanan exiting the building and walking toward the street," federal prosecutors wrote in their motion to revoke bond. "A news reporter offered Buchanan the opportunity to repeat his apology on camera. Buchanan’s response was to hold up an inappropriate hand gesture to the cameraman, smile, and walk away. As a result of this new information, the government respectfully requests this Court reconsider the matter of Buchanan’s bond and remand him into federal custody. Buchanan’s behavior minutes after leaving the detention hearing reflect Buchanan’s true lack of remorse for his actions."
The offending finger can be seen around the 1:40 mark of Fox 8's coverage below.
The DOJ had throughout sentencing argued that Buchanan lacked remorse, citing text messages sent to a person the day after the riot as evidence. (In one, Buchanan wrote, "man idgaf fuck them people." Prosecutors argued he was referring to the employees inside the cupcake store.)
Regardless of everything else, one could take the gesture reacting to a news camera moments after being sentenced to prison as an isolated response to being asked for an interview after being sentenced to prison, but in this case, the government argued, and the judge agreed, it was evidence of something deeper, apparently.
"In fact, Buchanan, in making that quick gesture and his demeanor outside the courtroom, appeared to revert back to the unapologetic and vengeful person reflected in his text messages a day after May 30, 2020," prosecutors wrote. "Buchanan casually walked out of the courthouse and when asked if he would like to make an apology on camera, he responded with an inappropriate hand gesture, smiled, and continued walking. Buchanan’s actions demonstrate that he changed very little after the events of May 30, 2020 and likely remains a danger to the community."
What that danger might be specifically, outside of offending the delicate sensibilities of a local news reporter, remain unclear.
A hearing on what restitution Buchanan owes Colossal Cupcakes is scheduled for May 11.