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Federal Charges Filed Against Brian Bartels, 20-Year-Old Accused Of Inciting Violence And Riots In Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania has filed federal charges against the 20-year-old accused of inciting violence and riots in Pittsburgh last Saturday.

On Friday, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said Brian Bartels was charged with obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder.

Photo Credit: Allegheny County

"His backpack loaded with rocks and spray paint, Bartels came to Saturday's protest in Pittsburgh to incite violence. Bartels's actions turned an otherwise peaceful protest into a violent riot that resulted in an evening of destruction throughout downtown Pittsburgh," Brady said in a release.

The attorney says Bartels was the first to incite the crowd by spray-painting and jumping on the windshield of a Pittsburgh police car.

Brady added that Bartels admitted to his role in the riots.

According to the criminal complaint, Bartels said his motive was, in part, "that he considers himself to be far 'left' and that he had become fed up with incidents involving police mistreatment of citizens."

"He explained that he had previously hoped that he would be able to change things through voting, but nothing changed," the complaint added.


Bartels turned himself in at police headquarters Monday. He arrived with an adult man and adult woman.

In the City of Pittsburgh, Bartels is also facing charges of institutional vandalism, rioting and reckless endangerment. According to police, he's responsible for breaking the windows out of a Pittsburgh police car against the wishes of peaceful protesters.

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Pittsburgh Police provided a photo of him wearing all black with a black bandanna around his face.

Photo Credit: City of Pittsburgh Police

Besides Pittsburgh Police, Shaler Police, North Hills SRT and FBI Pittsburgh served a search warrant at a home in Shaler on May 31.

Bartels was not there, but investigators say they found evidence that links him to the protests -- guns, spray paint and gloves. Also found during the search warrant execution was the sweatshirt matching the one seen in the video of the protest.

He is set to appear in court next week.

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