Federal grand jury indicts 8 on charges related to Pittsburgh protest

Pennsylvania

Prosecutors say the suspects burned a police vehicle, threw projectiles or hit police horses during otherwise lawful protests for the death of George Floyd

Demonstrators raise fists in the air during a march in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 30, 2020 to protest the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day, May 25.

Demonstrators raise fists in the air during a march in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 30, 2020 to protest the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day, May 25. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WKBN) – Eight suspects are facing charges related to violent protests in the city of Pittsburgh on May 30.

According to the Department of Justice, the criminal acts happened while other people were peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

A federal grand jury indicted the following suspects:

  • George Allen, 31, of Pittsburgh: Charged with one count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. According to the indictment, Allen damaged a police officer’s police vehicle by throwing a projectile through the front passenger window.
  • Nicholas Lucia, 25, of Pittsburgh: Charged with one count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. According to the indictment, Lucia threw an object at uniformed police officers that appeared to be an explosive device, which landed on an officer’s vest, was quickly pulled off by another officer and thereafter exploded when it hit the ground.
  • Andrew Augustyniak-Duncan, 25, of Carnegie, Pa.: Charged with one count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. According to the indictment, Augustyniak-Duncan threw projectiles at several police officers during the protest.
  • Raekwon Dac Blankenship, 24, of Pittsburgh: Charged with obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. According to the indictment, Blankenship damaged an officer’s unmarked police vehicle by hitting, kicking and stomping on various parts of that vehicle, and by throwing a projectile into the windshield. Blankenship is also accused of poking and striking multiple police horses.
  • Devin Montgomery, 24, and Brandon Benson, 29, both of Pittsburgh: Charged with malicious destruction or damage by fire of a vehicle of an organization receiving federal financial assistance and bank burglary. According to the indictment, Montgomery destroyed by fire a police vehicle leased and possessed by the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. The indictment further alleges that on May 30, Montgomery and Benson entered and attempted to enter the Dollar Bank on Smithfield Street with the intent of stealing.
  • Da’Jon Lengyel, 22, of McKees Rocks, Pa., and Christopher West, 35, of Pittsburgh: Counts one and two of the indictment allege that Lengyel and West damaged a police vehicle leased and possessed by the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police by fire. In addition, counts three and four of the indictment allege that Lengyel and West, respectively, caused damage to a police officer’s vehicle by hitting, kicking and stomping on various parts of the vehicle and by joining others to destroy the vehicle by fire.

“Throwing 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,” said U.S. Attorney Brady. “We will continue to identify and prosecute these agitators.”

“The defendants, in this case, posed as protesters to hijack otherwise peaceful demonstrations,” said John Schmidt, acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Philadelphia Field Division.

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