Police Name Anarchist as Suspect Who Allegedly Incited Violence During Protest

June 1, 2020 Updated: June 2, 2020

Police officers in Pennsylvania on May 31 served a search warrant for a man who identifies himself as an anarchist and has possible ties to the far-left extremist group Antifa.

Brian Jordan Bartels, 20, was captured on video damaging a police car during protests in Pittsburgh on May 30.

According to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Bartels “incited Saturday’s violence by breaking the windows out of a marked Pittsburgh Police vehicle Uptown, against the wishes of peaceful protesters who tried to stop him.”

The suspect wasn’t at his residence in Shaler, but investigators found evidence there linking him to the crime.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by The Epoch Times, investigators found two firearms, cans of spray paint, and a sweatshirt with white writing, along with gloves, books and literature, and an iPhone.

Bartels works at Amazon. The company didn’t respond to inquiries about whether it’s taking any action regarding his employment.

An arrest warrant was issued, and Bartels faces charges of institutional vandalism, rioting, and reckless endangerment of another person.

Photographs and videos show Bartels dressed in all black, wearing a face covering emblazoned with an anarchist symbol commonly worn by people affiliated with Antifa, a group with communist roots that explicitly advocates violence against people with a wide array of views, including police officers, reporters, and some conservatives.

Bartels was seen on video with several others causing damage to the police cruiser while protesters tried to get them to stop, saying it wasn’t helping the situation.

Riots have taken place alongside peaceful protests in cities across the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who was arrested last month in Minneapolis and died in police custody after a police officer was shown kneeling on his neck.

Two vehicles were set on fire during the protest on May 30, and protesters attacked at least three reporters and some “innocent bystanders,” Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh’s director of public safety, told reporters that day. His agency said 60 businesses and properties were damaged by “rioters/looters,” including hotels, restaurants, and small businesses.

People involved in the protest also damaged or looted at least 12 buildings in Pittsburgh. Destruction of property and violence have quickly become hallmarks of the protests in cities across the United States.

Epoch Times Photo
Officers stand guard beside a burned-out mini New York Police Department vehicle, abandoned on Broadway in Lower Manhattan on May 31, 2020. (Kathy Willens/AP Photo)

Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert told reporters that a peaceful protest turned into a riot, with people hurling rocks at people, throwing cans, and injuring police officers and journalists.

Officers are working to track down those who inflicted damage and fostered violence, he said, blaming “white males, dressed in the anarchist Antifa [clothing].”

“We will look at every video that we have, and we will do everything we can with our technology to find the ones who were responsible for a lot of this,” Schubert said. “I’m just so angry at the fact that some segment hijacked this and then took some of the youth and brought them into the mix.”

Federal officials are investigating the organizers and instigators of violence at protests, utilizing the 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces, according to Attorney General William Barr.

“The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly,” he said in a statement.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, said in a statement that thousands of people marched before their event “was hijacked by a group of 100+ Anarchists – focused only on violence.” He directed people to the footage showing Bartels.

A Pittsburgh police spokeswoman told The Epoch Times on June 1 that the bureau had no new information about Bartels. City officials said that a curfew imposed over the weekend would remain in effect until the morning of June 2.

At least 44 people were arrested at the protest, primarily on charges of failure to disperse and disorderly conduct. Of those arrested, 16 live in Pittsburgh and the rest live in nearby municipalities.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber