Pittsburgh Police Vehicle Set Ablaze During George Floyd Protests Downtown, Unlawful Assembly Declared

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest the death of an unarmed black man while in police custody

Andrew Limberg
May 30, 2020 - 5:59 pm

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - There are reports of property damage, injuries and at least two Pittsburgh Police vehicles were set ablaze Saturday afternoon during protests over the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody this past Monday.

It is unknown who started the vehicle fire at this time.

Protestors chanted “I can’t breathe while walking at the intersection of Liberty and Sixth Avenues holding signs and wearing masks.

The Mario Lemieux statue in front of PPG Paints Arena was vandalized with red spray paint with the phrase, “It is right to rebel,” with a Soviet Union sickle and hammer logo.

KDKA Photographer Ian Smith who has done work for KDKA Radio events in the past said on Twitter he was attacked by protesters downtown near the area.

He adds another group of protesters pulled him out and saved his life.

In addition, parts of the City of Pittsburgh have been placed on lockdown following the outbreak of violence.

According to Pittsburgh Public Safety protesters “smashed a glass business front on Smithfield Street.”

Following that, they said they had to disperse gas and issued a warned to those who showed up to protest peacefully, to go home for their own safety. “This is no longer peaceful.”

According to reports, a majority of the protest was peaceful.

KDKA Radio’s Boris Shiloff was on the scene Saturday afternoon and says protesters confronted SWAT teams and that is when the tear gas was dispersed.

He says protesters threw the gas canisters back toward police.

There are also reports the protests started to get out of control after a while male was seen jumping up and down on another police cruiser outside of PPG Paints.

Other protesters reportedly asked him to stop.

The justice for George Floyd protest was scheduled from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon and a Facebook page said the event was to protest how they, “  want justice for George Floyd and to show solidarity with the protesters in Minneapolis fighting to end the state sponsored murder of black people."

County Council seat at-large, Bethany Hallam tells KDKA Radio people of color are fed up with the lack of action.

 “Less than two years since Antwon Rose was killed by an East Pittsburgh Police officer and peaceful protesting have been done over and over again but the murder of unarmed black men keep happening locally and nationalyl.”

RelatedPittsburgh Police Chief Issues Statement On George Floyd

The page also details their plan for the day as "General chanting/speaking/marching with signs."

George Floyd was killed while in custody by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes, while Floyd could be seen and heard begging for help because he couldn't breathe.

Chauvin has been charged with 3rd degree murder and manslaughter.

Stay with KDKA Radio. This is a developing story. 

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