PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The young man accused of vandalizing a police car during a riot outside of PPG Paints Arena last month has pleaded not guilty to federal charges.
Brian Bartels, 20, appeared by video conference for an arraignment in federal court Tuesday morning.
A federal grand jury accuses Bartels of damaging a Pittsburgh Police car and inciting violence during a protest then devolved into a riot on May 30.
Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady charged Bartels with obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder.
“His backpack, loaded with rocks and spray paint, Bartels came to Saturday’s protest in Pittsburgh to incite violence. Bartels’s actions turned an otherwise peaceful protest into a violent riot that resulted in an evening of destruction throughout downtown Pittsburgh,” Brady said in a release.
The attorney says Bartels was the first to incite the crowd by spray-painting and jumping on the windshield of the police car.
Brady added that Bartels admitted to his role in the riots.
Bartels also faces state charges of institutional vandalism, rioting and reckless endangerment.
When a search warrant was executed at his home investigators say they found evidence that links Bartels to the protests — guns, spray paint and gloves. They also say they found the sweatshirt matching the one seen in the video of the protest.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.