PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – About an hour before curfew and after a peaceful protest began to disperse in East Liberty, windows were broken and objects were thrown at police.
Pittsburgh Public Safety says a small group broke off from the peaceful march and started to throw bricks at police on Centre and Negley avenues. Groups ignored orders to disperse, so police used smoke to break up the group.
At a press conference on Monday night, city officials said windows were broken at the Dollar Bank and Sneaker Villa. Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chief Scott Schubert said officials learned a plan earlier in the day for Target and other businesses to be looted at 8 p.m.
Officials said nine police officers were injured in East Liberty. All the police officers were treated and released.
The scene on Centre Ave around 7:30. pic.twitter.com/1VfTSACETy
— Jennifer Borrasso (@JenBorrasso) June 2, 2020
Twenty people were arrested, including four from out of state. Two protesters were also hurt, complaining of injuries from bean-bags.
“It appears at least several of them were not part of the peaceful side,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said.
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Protesters first gathered in East Liberty at 3:30 p.m. Monday following violent protests Saturday.
Their peaceful march started down Penn Avenue, calling for an end to racial injustice and police brutality after the death of George Floyd. They chanted phrases like “black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe” while carrying signs.
Organizers of the protest said they would not tolerate any violence during the march.
However, after Pittsburgh Public Safety said peaceful protesters began to leave, a small group broke off and the situation turned unsafe. Pittsburgh Police Commander Jason Lando said rocks and bricks were thrown at officers, while water bottles were thrown from Essex House Apartments 10 floors up.
Police in riot gear staged in East Liberty, while Pittsburgh Public safety urged people to avoid the East Liberty and Shadyside areas, saying “It’s not safe right now.”
SWAT and police officers surrounded the Target in East Liberty as the 8:30 p.m. curfew went into effect.
Multiple people were arrested and smoke was used. SWAT officers, the state police and local police were all on the scene.
Pittsburgh Public Safety said the scene was secured around 9:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said “a transcript” of audio of all actions from emergency operations command will be given to him on Tuesday.
— Royce Jones KDKA (@roycejonesnews) June 2, 2020