Friday, March 24, 2017


Riot Breaks Out Outside Pennsylvania Jail

By Shelly Bradbury

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
March 23, 2017

PITTSBURGH -- Wrapped in jackets and hats, six protesters sat in a circle on the sidewalk near the Allegheny County Jail on Tuesday beneath a hand-drawn banner that declared in bold, black letters, "Until everyone is free."

Snacks and spent coffee cups littered the sidewalk. A harp sat nearby. Pedestrians walked past without second glances.

The quiet protest was nothing like the scene at the jail Monday night, when police said armed, masked protesters shot off fireworks, threw rocks at jail windows, tussled with officers, damaged cars and sprayed graffiti to protest the treatment of inmates.

Eleven protesters were arrested after what police called a riot outside the jail. Many of those arrested carried weapons; one man had a backpack filled with Mace, brass knuckles, marijuana and a firearm, which police said he had a license to carry.

Jail employees called 911 at 7:43 p.m. Monday to report the protesters were throwing rocks at the building and breaking windows, according to a statement from Warden Orlando Harper.

When officers arrived, they found about 25 people, many with their faces covered by bandannas or masks. The protesters were shooting fireworks, playing a drum, and banging sticks and pipes together, according to police.

The fireworks exploded between the jail building and the Parkway East, according to a criminal complaint, and posed a danger to passing drivers.

As the first two officers approached on bicycles, the group began to march away. One officer pulled in front of the protesters and ordered them to stop, but they ignored him.

Tyler Kobel, 25, of Altoona, at that point darted out from behind a highway pillar and jogged to catch up with the group. Officer Daniel Nowak caught up to him and grabbed him, according to a criminal complaint.

Mr. Kobel struggled to get away while another person punched Officer Nowak in the back, according to police. Mr. Kobel surrendered when the officer pointed his Taser at him, according to the complaint.

Another protester, 25-year-old James Griffin of Allison Park, charged at an officer and also was arrested after a brief scuffle, according to police. He carried the backpack full of weapons, according to a criminal complaint.

The other nine protesters were arrested as they fled from officers, according to the complaint.

It's unclear who organized Monday's protest and what, exactly, they were demanding. Members of the Allegheny County Jail Health Justice Project protested peacefully at the jail on Saturday, but spokeswoman TeOnna Ross said her organization had nothing to do with Monday's events.

"However, we sympathize with those who showed their frustration about the abuses that are occurring inside the jail," she said in a statement.

Those arrested were Pittsburgh residents Ian Greynolds, 22, Anthony Ambroso, 26, Liam Swanson, 25, Thomas Stiller, 26, Blanca Chavez-Alvarez, 29, Joshua Szymanski, 22, and Raina Legrand, 23. Morgan Prescott, 22 of York, and Nicholas Hodgson, 36, who was said to be homeless, also were arrested.

All 11 face charges of rioting, vandalism, criminal mischief and conspiracy. Mr. Griffin and Mr. Kobel also are charged with assaulting the officers and were being held in the county jail. The other nine had been released, according to court records.

All are scheduled to appear for preliminary hearings on April 4 and 5.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I suspect this was organized by some jerk on social media. You can organize just about anything at the drop of a hat through the social media.

1 comment:

bob walsh said...

There are times when I am a fan of the Mexico City P D school of riot control. You give ONE order to disperse, then open fire with automatic weapons with live ammunition. They have very few riots there.