Protestors Smash Windows Outside Of Jail, 1 Officer Injured

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police say charges are pending against demonstrators who smashed windows Monday night at the Allegheny County Jail and got into a scuffle with an officer.

Police responded in force around 8 p.m. when about 20 protestors, dressed in black and wearing masks staged a protest Downtown.

The group demonstrated outside the jail, where several windows were broken. Windows on vehicles were also smashed, including the back windshield on an SUV belonging to an employee of City Court.

An Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department’s car also had the back window smashed.

“To the best of our knowledge, there was about a group of 20-25 people. Jail staff called 911 saying this group was outside, they were throwing things at the jail and had broken some glass,” said Pittsburgh Police spokeswoman Sonya Toler said. “They were firing off firecrackers or fireworks, I should say, that’s probably more accurate.”

A spokesperson for the protest group said over the weekend there was an inmate sit-in in the jail.

Lisa Washington’s Report:

However, Allegheny County spokeswoman Amie Downs said that there was no protest in the jail and all jail operations were normal.

But the group said the demonstration was in support in a specific pod in the jail that staged a sit-in to allegedly demand proper and timely medical care, among other things.

Jail Warden Orlando Harper issued a statement, thanking police for their quick response to the violence.

Harper said, in part, “Contrary to reports made by the group that has been organizing the protests over the last few days, there are no sit-ins or protests going on inside the jail, nor have there been. Tonight’s incident has not impacted operations at all. The facility remains secure and safe for all inmates and employees.”

Harper said the institution was safe and secure for all inmates and employees.

KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti Reports:

A Pittsburgh Bicycle Officer, who was the first policeman to arrive on the scene, suffered a shoulder injury when he got into a scuffle with several demonstrators.

“The first one of the scene was a bicycle officer and he had a small altercation when he was trying to subdue the group,” said Toler. “They took off running in several directions.”

At least 11 protestors were taken into custody.

While it’s not clear what the group was protesting, it appears to be a spin-off from a weekend rally organized by the ACJ Health Justice Project. However, that organization said it was not affiliated with the protest.

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