Eight charged with criminal activity during late-May protest in Pittsburgh
Eight Pennsylvanians have been federally charged with criminal activity during protests in downtown Pittsburgh at the end of May, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said Wednesday.
Prosecutors allege the charged people engaged in violent demonstrations on May 30 as others peacefully demonstrated as part of protests over the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Throwing [improvised explosive devices] IEDs and bricks at police officers, throwing projectiles at and striking police horses, and setting police cruisers on fire are not the protected First Amendment activities of a peaceful protest; they are criminal acts that violate federal law,” Brady said in a statement. “We will continue to identify and prosecute these agitators, whose acts of violence hijacked a lawful protest and undermined a message of equality with one of destruction.”
George Allen, Nicholas Lucia, Andre Augustyniak-Duncan and Raekwon Dac Blankenship were each charged with one count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder.
Allen allegedly threw a projectile through the front passenger window of a police vehicle; Lucia allegedly threw an object that appeared to be an explosive device at uniformed police officers; Augustyniak-Duncan allegedly threw projectiles at several police officers; and Blankenship allegedly caused damage to a police officer’s unmarked police vehicle and “poked and struck” multiple police horses.
The grand jury also returned a two-count indictment charging Devin Montgomery and Brandon Benson with malicious destruction or damage by fire of a vehicle of an organization receiving federal assistance and bank burglary. The indictment alleges Montgomery damaged a police vehicle, and alleges he and Benson attempted to enter the Dollar Bank with the intent to take property, money or something of value.
The grand jury also returned a four-count indictment that named Da’Jon Lengyel and Christopher West, both of whom allegedly damaged a police vehicle.
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