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'Hijacked': Pittsburgh Police Looking For Photos And Videos To Identify People Accused Of Turning Peaceful Protests Violent

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The Pittsburgh Police Chief says investigators will collect all evidence -- from photos to videos -- to identify people accused of inciting violence and turning Saturday's peaceful protests into riots.

At a Monday afternoon press conference, Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert says they're collecting any piece of evidence they can get their hands on so they can identify "the people who committed the acts of violence."

Anyone with videos or pictures of looting, attacks on police, graffiti being sprayed or vehicles being lit on fire are asked to call a community hotline at 412-323-7800.

Schubert says the group that started the violence is organized but it's unclear if the agitators were part of a larger organization.

"Those people in those groups have one thing in mind, and that's not to support what the actual protest is for," Chief Schubert says. "They're there to cause violence, they're there to cause injury and property damage. That's what they do. And you've seen it across the country."

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"The actions they took were not supported by the organizers of the event. The organizers of the event had outsiders that came in and hijacked their event," Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said, saying other mayors he talked to saw similar incidents.

He went on to say, "What Pittsburgh Public Safety and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police were able to do to balance the protective rights of individuals in order to assemble with the protection of people's property and individual's lives and not look at the very fact at the end of all of this, 44 people were arrested and none of them were hurt."

The glass doors of GNC were smashed in. (Photo Credit: Chris Hoffman)

Mayor Peduto says "despite all of the conspiracy theories" he knows there is a small group "hellbent on destroying."

"But we also have to pay attention to the thousands more who are saying black lives matter and saying there are injustices in the country and saying racism is real," he says.

Peduto goes on to say that the community should rally around those peaceful protesters, and not the "troublemakers."


Mayor Peduto also responded to criticism and people who said he allowed the riots to happen. "You're damn right I did," he said. "It's called the First Amendment of the Constitution."

"We will make changes, but I'm not going to concentrate on the troublemakers who are out there just to destroy," he went on to say.

Chief Schubert says the investigation is just getting started and it could take years to bring every person in.

Looters used the metal signs from the nearby flower beds to crash through the glass windows at Five Guys. (Photo Credit: Meghan Schiller)

Police have arrested 20-year-old Brian Bartels, who is accused of inciting violence at the protests. According to police, he's responsible for breaking the windows out of a Pittsburgh police car against the wishes of peaceful protesters.

Photo Credit: City of Pittsburgh Police

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

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