Man pleads guilty to destroying police cruiser during Pa. protest

Pennsylvania

Police say others were protesting peacefully until Brian Bartels got involved

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Credit: Witthaya Prasongsin/Momemt/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WKBN) – A man from the Pittsburgh area pleaded guilty in federal court to destroying a police cruiser during a riot over the death of George Floyd.

Brian Bartels was charged with obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder.

The incident happened on May 30. Prosecutors called it the “most destructive riot in Pittsburgh history since 1986.”

Investigators say Bartels incited the riot.

“Armed with his homemade agitator toolkit, this self-identified extreme left-wing anarchist came to the protest in downtown Pittsburgh that day with one goal: to incite violence. Bartels succeeded – he was the first to incite violence during the protest. While protesters yelled for him to stop, Bartels spray painted and then smashed and jumped on the windshield of a Pittsburgh police cruiser. Others then joined in and the cruiser was set on fire and destroyed.”

Police say others were protesting peacefully until Bartels got involved.

“Bartels’ actions were the inflection point in the demonstration,” U.S. Attorney Brady
added. “What was peaceful became lawless. Ultimately, Pittsburgh police cars were burned.
Mounted Pittsburgh police officers were attacked. Projectiles were thrown at Pittsburgh police
officers.

Bartels ultimately admitted to his actions, prosecutors said, and apologized.

He is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 27.

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