A Pittsburgh man faces federal charges for allegedly inciting violence and riots last weekend. US Attorney Scott Brady told the press that 20-year old Brian Bartels also was charged with obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder. (Pittsburgh.CBSlocal.com). He also has been charged with the destruction of a police car.
The federal charging documents stated that Bartels’ backpack was loaded with spray paint and rocks. He went to the protests on Saturday with the intent to incite riots and violence, Brady stated.
“Bartel’s actions turned a peaceful protest into a violent riot that caused an evening of destruction in downtown Pittsburgh,” the US Attorney added. Brady said that the young man was the first to incite crowds by spray painting and jumping on the hood of police car. Other protesters said that Bartels broke windows and engaged in the destruction of property against their wishes. (Pittsburgh.CBSlocal.com)
Bartels later admitted to his role in the riots. The criminal complaint stated that Bartels’ motive was that he is a far-left partisan who had become ‘fed up with incidents involving police mistreatment of citizens. He said that he had hoped things could change with votes, but nothing had changed.
Police served a search warrant at Bartels’ home on May 30. While he was not there, investigators found evidence that connected him to the riots, including guns, spray paint, and gloves. Also found during the search warrant was the sweatshirt that matched the one seen in protest videos.
Pittsburgh Police Chief Rails Against Anarchists Hijacking George Floyd Protests
During a May 30 press conference, Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert expressed anger toward black-clad anarchists who turned downtown protests from peaceful to violent. (Pittsburgh.CBSlocal.com)
Chief Schubert stated in a press conference that he was ‘very disappointed’ in what happened as the downtown protests devolved into rioting and violence. He added that violent protests do nothing to honor the memory of George Floyd, the 46-year old Minneapolis man who died in police custody at the end of May.
When a peaceful protest is occurring and anarchists turn it into a riot where people are hurt, you doing things that should never be done, the chief said. The criminals, he added, were throwing rocks, cans, and generally attacking protesters.
Chief Schubert and Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich also noted that the criminals responsible for starting riots are not from Pittsburgh. Hissrich stated that he thought many of them drove in from out of town.
Police Chief Believes Rioters Were Not There for Protest
Schubert also stated his belief that those responsible for the violence were not there to protest Floyd’s death but were mostly interested in creating anarchy.
“I am willing to bet my paycheck that there are a lot of people who are anarchists and are not interested in protesting. They simply want to take advantage of a situation and involve others and cause injury and damage.”
Schubert said that many of the criminals appeared to be white males dressed in all-black outfits, as ANTIFA anarchists often look. “It’s just a damn shame that they took advantage of the situation, for something where someone died in another state, they hijacked that valuable message for their own.”
Other Rioting Suspects Being Sought, Some Arrested
Police are also searching for another suspect connected to the rioting and destruction in Pittsburgh last weekend. Police said they want to talk to a suspect regarding his involvement in destroying a police cruiser Saturday night. The suspect was seen in a photo holding a hammer and wearing a ‘Stronger Than Hate’ shirt.
Also, the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office has caught a 22-year-old man accused of damaging a police care and swinging an orange pylon through its window during the downtown Pittsburgh riot.
Last Monday, police said Dajon Lengyel was arrested in Stowe Township. The sheriff’s office said he was the person who was seen standing on the police car that was burned and spraypainted. He faces charges of criminal mischief, institutional vandalism, and riot. (Pittsburgh.CBSlocal.com)
Curfew Now In Effect in Downtown Pittsburgh
Due to problems with rioting and looting in the city in recent weeks, Pittsburgh Public Safety has put a curfew on the City of Pittsburgh running from 8:30 PM until 6 AM until further notice
Hissrich stated that because many of the people causing problems were not from the city, it would help if a curfew was in place to discourage trouble makers from driving into town.
Government officials said anyone who was downtown between those hours would be questioned by law enforcement. Several other law enforcement agencies were called into town to help, including state police and law officers from nearby towns.