A Pittsburgh man pleaded guilty on Sept. 21 to a charge of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder for damaging then setting a police car on fire during protests over George Floyd's death in May.
“As Bartels continued his destruction the crowd fought back against him less and more people began to join him in damaging the car,” according to the criminal complaint obtained by The Epoch Times.
During an interview with investigators, Bartel admitted to his criminal acts and expressed remorse. He was charged with a federal offense and indicted by a grand jury, prosecutors said.
"Bartels succeeded—he was the first to incite violence during the protest. While protesters yelled for him to stop, Bartels spray painted and then smashed and jumped on the windshield of a Pittsburgh Police cruiser. Others then joined in and the cruiser was set on fire and destroyed."
Brady said that Bartel's actions represented "the inflection point" during the protests, which he said went from peaceful to lawless.
"Ultimately, Pittsburgh police cars were burned. Mounted Pittsburgh Police Officers were attacked. Projectiles were thrown at Pittsburgh Police Officers. Reporters were attacked and their camera destroyed. What started as a peaceful demonstration, turned into a violent evening of destruction and looting throughout downtown Pittsburgh," Brady said.
Bartel is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2021. He could face up to a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
In the wake of Floyd's death, people took to the streets across the nation to protest against police brutality and called for a reform in policing policies. Officials say that while many of the demonstrations were peaceful, some cities such as Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, saw violent rioting and looting that caused widespread property damage and injuries, as well as deaths.