Federal prosecutors charge man with damaging police cruiser during Pittsburgh protests


The suspect told investigators that he hoped that he would be able to change things through voting, but nothing changed

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WKBN) – Federal prosecutors have charged a Pittsburgh-area man with damaging a police cruiser during protests in Pittsburgh last Saturday.

Brian Bartels, 20, is seen on cell phone video spray painting the cruiser and smashing its windows, according to investigators. It happened outside of the PPG Paints Arena during protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in police custody.

Prosecutors say Bartels’ backpack was filled with spray paint and rocks.

Following the damage to the cruiser, investigators say others joined Bartels, setting the cruiser on fire.

In the video provided by prosecutors, one of the protesters can be heard confronting the man damaging the police cruiser, telling him to stop and that he wasn’t helping the cause.

According to a criminal complaint in the case, Bartels told investigators that his motive for destroying the police was, in part, that he considers himself to be far “left,” and that he had become fed up with incidents involving police mistreatment of citizens.

He explained that he had previously hoped that he would be able to change things through voting, but nothing changed.

Federal investigators also charged a couple of men from Erie, Pa. with traveling to Cleveland to incite riots during protests there. Investigators said those men were found with a fire starter, pistol and hammer, among other objects.

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