Former FBI agent: Major differences between recent protests, those following death of Antwon Rose

PITTSBURGH — The scene in front of PPG Paints Arena was much different Tuesday than it was on Saturday when protests over the death of George Floyd turned violent.

Dozens of people were arrested but city leaders pointed to anarchists and outside agitators for inciting the violence. The FBI is now helping to track them down.

“There is an outside force that is coming in and providing momentum whether it’s through funding, weapons or advice and that is fueling what is happening here,” former FBI agent Shawn Brokos said.

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Brokos spent more than two decades with the FBI, including as the head of the Crisis Management Team following the shooting death of Antwon Rose by former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld. Those protests stayed peaceful, unlike what we saw in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

“We followed very closely what those outside influences were. We were able to be proactive to see if there were outside influences coming in. Fortunately, we didn’t see that and I think that’s the distinction here,” Brokos said.

“The FBI Pittsburgh Field Office is supporting our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners with maintaining public safety in the communities we serve. Our efforts are focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity. We are not focused on peaceful protests.”

—  FBI Pittsburgh Field Office