PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Eight Pittsburgh protesters who were involved in the May 30 demonstrations in downtown Pittsburgh have been criminally indicted, according to U.S. Attorney Scott Brady’s office.
The people indicted include 31-year-old George Allen of Pittsburgh, 25-year-old Nicholas Lucia of Pittsburgh, 25-year-old Andrew Augustyniak-Duncan of Carnegie, 24-year-old Raekwon Dac Blankenship of Pittsburgh, 24-year-old Devin Montgomery of Pittsburgh, 22-year-old Da’Jon Lengyel of McKees Rocks, 35-year-old Christopher West of Pittsburgh and 29-year-old Brandon Benson of Pittsburgh.
Allen is facing one count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. The official indictment accuses Allen of throwing a projectile through a police car window and impeding law enforcement officers during the protest.
Lucia is also facing one count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. The official indictment accuses Lucia of throwing an explosive device at police officers.
Augustyniak-Duncan is facing one count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. The official indictment accuses Augustyniak-Duncan of throwing several projectiles at officers.
Dac Blankenship is facing a count of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. The official indictment accuses Dac Blankenship of causing serious damage to a police vehicle and hitting police horses.
The grand jury gave a two-count indictment against Montgomery and Benson, charging them with malicious destruction or damage by fire of a vehicle of an organization receiving federal financial assistance and bank burglary. The official indictment accuses Montgomery of setting fire to a police vehicle. It also accuses Montgomery and Benson of entering a Dollar Bank on the 500 block of Smithfield Street with the intent to take property, money or thing of value.
The grand jury also leveled a four-count indictment against Lengyel and West, accusing them of conspiring to and setting a police vehicle on fire as well as destroying a police vehicle by hitting and stomping at it.
“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,” Brady said. “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.”
If convicted, Allen, Lucia, Duncan and Blankenship could face maximum total sentences of five years in prison, fines of $250,000 or both. Montgomery could face a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, a fine of $500,000 or both if he is convicted. If convicted, Benson could face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. If convicted, Lengyel and West could face minimum sentences of five years in person with maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a fine of $750,000, or both.
Brady’s office clarified that the severity of the sentence will also depend on the individual’s past criminal history and the severity of the alleged offenses. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police all contributed to the investigation that led to the indictments.
An indictment is not a conviction, all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.