8 federally charged in violent downtown Pittsburgh protests

8 federally charged in violent downtown Pittsburgh protests

PITTSBURGH — Eight people have been federally charged in violent protests that happened in downtown Pittsburgh on May 30.

“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 Scott Brady. “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.”

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Here are the people that have been charged:

  • George Allen, 31, of Pittsburgh, has been charged with one count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. According to the indictment, Allen threw a projectile through the front passenger window of a police vehicle.
  • Nicholas Lucia, 25, of Pittsburgh, has been charged with one count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. Lucia is accused of throwing an object that appeared to be an explosive device at uniformed police officers, which landed on an officer’s vest and then was quickly pulled off by another officer – and then exploded when it hit the ground, according to the indictment.
  • Andrew Augustyniak-Duncan, 25, of Carnegie, has been charged with one count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. According to the indictment, Augustyniak-Duncan threw projectiles at several police officers.
  • Raekwon Dac Blankenship, 24, of Pittsburgh, has been charged with obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. According to the indictment, Blankenship damaged an unmarked police vehicle by hitting, kicking and stomping it. The indictment also said he damaged the vehicle by throwing a projectile into the windshield and poked and struck multiple police horses.
  • Devin Montgomery, 24, and Brandon Benson, 29, both from Pittsburgh, have been charged with malicious destruction or damage by fire of a vehicle of an organization receiving federal financial assistance and bank burglary. According to indictment, Montgomery maliciously damaged and destroyed a Pittsburgh police vehicle. They are also accused of entering and attempting to enter the Dollar Bank on Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh, with the intent to take property, money or thing of value.
  • Da’Jon Lengyel, 22, of McKees Rocks and Christopher West, 35, of Pittsburgh, are facing a four-count indictment. According to the indictment, they set a Pittsburgh police vehicle on fire. The last two counts allege they damaged a police vehicle by hitting, kicking and stomping on it and by joining others to destroy the vehicle with fire.

According to the Department of Justice, here are the possible fines and prison time they could be facing:

  • For Allen, Lucia, Duncan and Blankenship, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.
  • For Montgomery, the law provides for a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both.
  • For Benson, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of 25 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both.
  • For Lengyel and West the law provides for a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 30 years in prison, a fine of $750,000, or both.
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